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By: Lori Crable
Today we’re bringing a lovely new Guest Contributor, Lori Crable, onto the TPS stage to share a little something-something about the lost art of networking. The dawn of social media has definitely changed the networking landscaping quite a bit. One can now easily meet people all over the country (and world) with the simple click of a mouse button. Some of you excel at online networking. Others need a bit of help. Regardless of which networking camp you find yourself in, this one’s for you! (And him and her, too). Keep reading!
Connect (kuh-NEKT) – verb. To cause to be associated, as in a personal or business relationship: to connect oneself with a group of like-minded persons. To associate mentally or emotionally. Connection (kuh-NEK-shuhn) – noun. A circle of friends or associates or a member of such a circle. Association with or development of something observed, imagined, discussed, etc.
In my professional life, I’ve accepted and adapted to technology well. I need the computer and the Internet to efficiently perform my job duties, and having access to so many resources at my fingertips certainly makes my job easier. In my personal life, however, I’m a bit of a reluctant dinosaur. Even though I have a DVD player, I still have a VCR and VHS tapes. I didn’t have cable TV until 1999, and I never had TiVo. Out of necessity, I finally got a cell phone in 2006. I’m not on Facebook; I don’t Tweet. Social media wasn’t really for me, until LinkedIn came along. Besides, it was more of a professional tool, so that gave it some credibility.
Perhaps like some of you, I started out slowly on LinkedIn: put up a profile, found a decent photo of myself, connected with family, friends, and co-workers I knew well. I joined some groups, mostly for paralegals, and when I felt more comfortable, I began sharing my thoughts and opinions in posts. Eventually, some people asked me to join their network. Jamie (not realizing who she was inviting!) suggested I join The LinkedIn group for The Paralegal Society. Emboldened by these events, I sought out associations with new people and attorneys that had not worked at my company for years. One, in particular, thanked me for reaching out to him, which was another nice surprise. I found myself looking forward to the LinkedIn updates in my email each day.
I’m sometimes astonished how much LinkedIn has become an everyday part of my life. Often, I find myself reading an article someone posted that speaks to me professionally or personally, and sometimes both. Afterward, if I particularly like something or want to share a thought, I can express myself. The best is when I get that feeling from someone else’s post that says “I know exactly what they mean”, or “Hey, I can identify with that!” I’ll probably never meet most of the group members on LinkedIn face to face, but that doesn’t mean I don’t share similar feelings, opinions, beliefs…connections. That amazing moment when I feel a kinship with another person is not really something I expected to get from LinkedIn. But I’m grateful for it.
Life often moves by in a blur. We’re all busy – so much to do. Work. Family. Friends. Obligations. Unexpected emergencies or delays that suck up some more of our precious time. Isn’t it a blessing that we can connect with another human being through this technology and perhaps make our day (and theirs) a little better?
Thanks to those of you who have reached out to me or accepted my invitation on LinkedIn, and to those with whom I’ve yet to connect. If you happen to be reading this and belong to only one group, I encourage you to seek out others that interest you. I’ve realized different benefits from belonging to more than one group for paralegals. To anyone who’s hung back from posting comments, take a deep breath if you need it, then speak up in writing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; I go by the philosophy “There’s never a dumb question.” Everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion, so if you disagree with what someone else has written, state your point of view in a respectful manner. Share your thoughts with the rest of us. You never know who will read them and feel that spark of recognition. You might even find that amazing moment of kinship with another person that you never expected to experience on a social media site. And even if you don’t, you’ll be better connected professionally, more engaged personally, and will find some really great articles and discussions of interest along the social media highway.
I think people are isolated because of the nature of human consciousness, and they like it when they feel the connection between themselves and someone else. – James Taylor
We’re hardwired for connection. – Brene Brown
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding YOUR people. You’re just a mouse click away.
Lori Crable began her career at American Modern Insurance Group in 1981, as a temporary legal secretary. She dazzled the company’s attorneys with her intelligence, ability as a quick study, and capacity to take on infinite responsibility, all while maintaining a calm demeanor and pleasant smile. As Lori eventually took on paralegal work, at the request of her supervising attorneys and while still working full time, she enrolled at the University of Cincinnati and graduated with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies in 1998. Lori is now the senior corporate paralegal responsible for corporate governance of all companies in the Group, insurance regulatory compliance, and assisting various departments of the Group and North American affiliates on a regular basis. She will celebrate her 33rd anniversary at AMIG in July 2014.
Now get out there and forge those meaningful connections, TPSers! Remember, it’s all about finding YOUR people. Beef up that profile. Join a new group or two and reach out to a few folks that pique your interest. Embrace the art of “connection.”
Until next week, we bid you farewell. Dash into that paralegal freedom festival (a/k/a your weekend) with the best of ’em. We’ll see you soon!