You had the best intentions for celebrating your clients and colleagues this holiday season.
First, it was branded calendars or chargers or thumb drives for clients and colleagues as a holiday gift, but your budget couldn’t quite cover it. So, you downscaled to printed holiday cards but you didn’t place the order in time. Then, you considered an informal holiday party or lunch but discovered that between family obligations and other professional commitments, you couldn’t find a date that didn’t conflict. And now, as 2013 draws to a close, you realize that it’s going to end just like the past three or five or fifty years, with yet another goal that you didn’t make good on.
But it’s not too late. Even now, on December 20, with holidays just around the corner and folks scrambling to leave town, there’s still a few things that you can do to reconnect and show your gratitude. Here’s a couple of suggestions:
Send a handwritten notes Even if you didn’t have time to pre-order holiday cards, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to send them. After work today, head out to a local stationary store or even a Target or Walmart and pick up a box of notes and a nice ink pen. Then tonight or this weekend, pick a comfortable spot at home or even Starbucks (this is one task that even a Grinch would agree can be done at a coffee shop) and start writing. Maybe you want to thank a colleague for his advice over the past year or let a client know how working with her was the highlight of your year or maybe you want to reach out to a mentor whom you haven’t been in touch with in ages. No matter what you write, make it personal and genuine. Sure, your holiday cards may not look very attractive – but I guarantee that your clients and colleagues will much prefer a handwritten note to a fancy card with signature.
Pick up the phone Okay, so no time to even write cards. You can still pick up the phone to say hello and offer holiday wishes by phone.
The Annual Report If you want to provide something of value to clients and contacts more so than holiday wishes, how about an annual report? Not a report about what your firm has been up to but rather, a round-up of important cases or industry trends in review. Each year, I devote the final edition of my law firm newsletter to predictions for the coming year and a round up of the two dozen appellate decisions involving review of FERC orders with links to the underlying case. I’ve gotten lots of good feedback on the usefulness of my year end newsletters – plus putting them together ensures that I’m current on the past year’s events before moving forward.
Open House…for Next Year If you still want to host a party or happy hour, set a date now – for next year. Most folks haven’t yet booked their 2014 calendars and truth be told, may be tiring of holiday parties. So use the downtime at the end of 2013 to put new networking initiatives in place for next year.
Finally, whatever you do, please DON’T, DON’T, DON’T send an annoying holiday e-card. Send a person email if that’s the only way you can communicate – but unless you have the resources to create e-cards look like these , then just don’t.
Ten day countdown to 2014 starts today. Make it count by letting clients and colleagues know that you’re thinking of them, no matter what method you choose to do it.
As for me here at MyShingle, I expect to take a posting break for most of next week. Having blogged at multiple sites for eleven years now, I’m well familiar with the readership drop off at year’s end – and since I do need a break to recharge, now’s as good time as any to take it. See you back in another week.