ITT: we discuss social skills.

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Anonymous User
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ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:25 am

Want to be brutally honest here, not ashamed. I consider myself quite an introvert and I've always been secretly jealous of extroverted/superstar types that seem to hog the big corporate jobs. I know to be a lawyer you have to sell yourself, and that it's part of the trade, but I find myself at a loss for words when I'm around people I feel like I need to impress. What sort of mindset do you guys try to embrace, how did you improve, what sort of banter do you exchange, etc. People say "just be yourself," but I obviously cannot be myself around law firm receptions.

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BuckinghamB
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby BuckinghamB » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:01 am

I totally know this feeling, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you'll be. I try not to think of the person as someone I have to impress. If you do it that way, your nervousness will probably show and you might look like you're trying too hard. I like to just think of it as an opportunity to shoot the shit with some pretty interesting folks. I know it's intimidating at these things, but if you just walk up confidently to someone not engaged in a conversation and say "Hi, I'm so and so." The convo will usually flow pretty naturally from there. Always ask about them -- people love talking about themselves and it's a good way to figure out more questions to ask them as the conversation progresses.

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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:10 am

I'm pretty much the same. I had to fake my personality somewhat (e.g. smiling a lot, enthusiasm in my voice) to get through interviews. But once I was a SA, no one really cared that I was an introvert. It depends on the firm, but some are very welcoming to the spectrum of personalities.

Anonymous User
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:27 am

I'm a relatively introverted person. I enjoy spending time with my close friends but I also look forward to going home and being alone, too. Unlike most people, I didn't relish all the social events as an SA. I am also not a good interviewer naturally although I have a good resume so I get lots of interviews. I had to actually practice answering interview questions out loud to myself, but it helped.....so I guess that is one thing to do before OCI (assuming you are a 1L because of reference to law firm receptions). What I am saying is Iknowthatfeel,bro, right down to being jealous of people who are larger-than-life.

Even if you are not the most extroverted life-of-the-party person, you must have some moments when you are with people you are close to where you let your guard down somewhat and reveal things about yourself and laugh and be vulnerable. That is what you want to harness and bring into these interviews and receptions because that is how you connect with people although obviously you have to have judgment about what types of information you reveal, what you joke about, etc. I don't know that there is any easy way to learn to do this but here are some things that I think can be helpful. First, try to start smiling more in your daily life. Smile at people when you thank them for holding the door for you or smile at people when you say hello to them.....and exaggerate your smile. Don't worry if it feels fake. There is a lot of fake-it-til-you-make-it involved in this practice. The dirty secret is that everyone is faking it, but from the perspective of an introvert, it seems like everyone else is being totally natural and having a wonderful time.

Actually, bring this overexaggration to all positive emotional experiences (laughing, excitement over something good that happens to you or someone else, etc). The connections people make in interviews/networking events are centered around positive emotional memories of one another, so that is why all the focus is on increasing your expression of happiness, enthusiasm, excitement, passion, laughter, etc. Normally overexaggeration of these emotions can go overboard in an interview but what feels like overexaggeration to shy people just gets you to like half of what a bubbly person is like. The point of all of this is to get somewhat more comfortable with exaggerating your positive facial expressions while simultaneously realizing that other people either respond positively to it or, at worst, ignore it. Shyness derives from fear of what other people think, so another piece of overcoming it is realizing that people pay way less attention to you than you pay to yourself. Think about how some people hate to walk into a lecture late (or hate to get called on in class) because they are so concerned about what people will think. But then think about yourself when someone walks in late or says something dumb in class: how much do you care? Do you even register it at all? Being overly fearful of what others think is narcissistic in a sense because it way overestimates your importance in other people's minds. The other necessary piece, though, is also realizing that sometimes people will think bad things about you, whether deserved or not, and that is okay. If you're at a T14 school where you'll have 20-30 interviews at OCI, some inevitably won't go well. Even the most gregarious kid at the top of the class doesn't get a CB from every firm with which s/he interviews. You can't take it personally.

If you haven't already found a job for this summer yet, I would use the 1L summer interviews you have coming up to try to start working on bringing in the smiling, laughing, and excitement. To some extent, it is a leap of faith for someone who is not naturally like this (trust me, I know....and it is not like I am cured....it has taken me three months to start sort of smiling to my boss at the job I have now). It will also feel fake and forced, and perhaps it will seem somewhat like that to the other person involved but not nearly so much so as you worry. If you practice it in those other settings (saying thank you to the grocery bagger with a smile and so forth), it will not feel as fake and forced by the time OCI comes around. Also, it would be worthwhile to seek feedback from people you interviewed with for 1L summer jobs. They might be more helpful than the useless mock interviews the school has you do. But if you are worried about this, I think you are probably right to start a concerted plan of attack on it now because it is a process and can't be fixed overnight. If you have amazing credentials (like T14+very good grades), you probably don't have as much to worry about although you may underperform your numbers. But if you are borderline, you are going to need to connect with the interviewer.

I forgot to mention earlier....you must have a hobby or interest that you are passionate about or excited about - put that on your resume in your interests section. Interviewers may ask you about it or if they ask you to tell them something interesting about you, you can bring it up - the point is that this is something that you will be naturally excited about in your expression to the interviewer.

One last thing....I didn't go to any law firm receptions 1L year. I think I knew intuitively that it wouldn't be useful for me because I was already pretty overwhelmed and I didn't think trying to fight with 15 other eager 1Ls to make an impression on one Cleary partner would be a gamechanger six months later. I still got plenty of offers from OCI. I am not saying definitively not to go, but if you have been to some and they haven't been that useful and they are causing you to feel bad about yourself, consider not going. There are other ways to network. I like to go to events at the bar and CLEs. That way I am not trying to outcharm 20 other law students to even hope to make an impression. Inns of Courts are also good. In my experience, bar events, CLEs, and Inns of Courts are way better than law firm receptions for making real connections. Granted, law firm receptions are the best way to meet lots of big flaw lawyers, and supposedly attending them shows interest. I just think they have a very marginal impact on your chance of getting hired. Big law hiring follows a pretty rigid model. Someone with a 3.7 from CLS who doesn't go to SullCrom's reception will still have a 99% chance of getting an offer while the CLS student w a 3.0 (or 3.4, for that matter) who went to 100 SullCrom receptions and charmed the pants off multiple senior partners still has basically a 0% chance of getting hired. Mainly big law hiring is school + grades + interview, and connections only help if you have a much more deep-seated connection than meeting someone at a firm reception.

rad lulz
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby rad lulz » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:Want to be brutally honest here, not ashamed. I consider myself quite an introvert and I've always been secretly jealous of extroverted/superstar types that seem to hog the big corporate jobs. I know to be a lawyer you have to sell yourself, and that it's part of the trade, but I find myself at a loss for words when I'm around people I feel like I need to impress. What sort of mindset do you guys try to embrace, how did you improve, what sort of banter do you exchange, etc. People say "just be yourself," but I obviously cannot be myself around law firm receptions.

By making a thread about it, you've already failed in a miserable fashion.

Myself
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby Myself » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:29 am

Someone should post about the various euphemisms that lawyers and law professors use to actually give you a bad evaluation.

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reasonable_man
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:12 am

rad lulz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Want to be brutally honest here, not ashamed. I consider myself quite an introvert and I've always been secretly jealous of extroverted/superstar types that seem to hog the big corporate jobs. I know to be a lawyer you have to sell yourself, and that it's part of the trade, but I find myself at a loss for words when I'm around people I feel like I need to impress. What sort of mindset do you guys try to embrace, how did you improve, what sort of banter do you exchange, etc. People say "just be yourself," but I obviously cannot be myself around law firm receptions.

By making a thread about it, you've already failed in a miserable fashion.



True story. Have no fear though, the rock stars always need someone to round up the groupies.

hookem14
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby hookem14 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:56 pm

I do well in one-on-one interviews, but often fail at events with multiple people around (feel uncomfortable, like a 3rd wheel, etc). During 1L and 2L I went to as many receptions as possible to force myself to get comfortable with those kinds of settings, and it definitely helped. During 1L I also signed up for as many mock interviews as they would let me (when most people did 1 or none) just to feel more comfortable with that. If you push yourself to get comfortable in situations where it doesn't matter as much, you'll likely do better during the real thing.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:50 pm

Alcohol. Practice drinking with people you don't know. Those skills translate even when not drunk.

But more seriously- as an introvert myself, I think I've ID'd the real problem. I don't like people. I don't need them to be happy (besides some romantic love and sex). I mean, sure I like my friends, and women, and I'm friendly, but god damn do I just not give a shit about strangers or casual aquaintences. Its not in my nature, I'm just not wired that way. I want to just go home and do what I like. Its why I'm terrible with names- I don't care. This is the introvert's problem. Because you don't like people and don't generally gain real pleasure from interacting with them, this displeasure can come through in your personaility, turning people off on you, and eventually people will just think you're a dick. Or the anxiety of knowing that you have to socialize when you know you hate it can itself make you awkward because you're thinking about it too much.

SO FAKE IT. Fake interest. Look, i know there are varying degrees of introversion, from mild to extreme - i think i fall in the middle, i enjoy a good party but need alone time after to recharge. So this isn't easy for the more extreme cases. But, just actively force yourself to ask the other person about him or her self. Avoid the introvert fallback position of selfishly discussing your own likes and dislikes. I say this all cynically (its better to be genuinely interested), but as you practice faking it, you'll train yourself and eventually will come to like it when you realize you are making people like you.

Practicing focusing your attention on the other person and not yourself (aka don't say "fuck I hate socializing" in your head, say "I'm going to get to know something about someone else before I leave.")

You don't have to become the social rock star - you just have to avoid becoming the "(s)he thinks (s)he's too good for us" person.

And last thought- part of all this is CONFIDENCE. Don't "try and impress." Instead, just know that you're impressive. Its sort of like dating. Girls don't like the guy who is "trying" to get them to like him. They like the guy who doesn't need them at all. When you're confident, you don't worry, and when you don't worry, you dont find yourself at a loss for words. That loss of words is just your anxiety blocking you brain from chilling out and being itself. And you're anxious because you don't think you'll be liked. But seriously, just don't give a shit and you'll be amazed. A confident person knows that if he doesn't hit it off with person A, so what? He'all hit it off with person B or C, so who needs A? When you think like that, I'm telling you, you'll surprise yourself one day when you realize how easy it can be when you stop giving a shit and just flowwwww.

Now here too there is a fine line between confident and arrogant. Confidence is knowing you're good. Arrogance is thinking you're too good, or better than someone else. Don't cross that line and you are golden.

09042014
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby 09042014 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:09 pm

Introvert doesn't mean socially awkward, shy, anti-social weirdo.

1) practice making small talk
2) practice eye contract
3) make sure you get as many OCI interviews as possible. Weirdos do WAY worse.
4) Go to firm events as an SA.
5) Try to be friendly to everyone
6) Try to find a way to be genuinely interested in people.
7) don't try to script communcation

weirdos aren't good at faking things.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:14 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Introvert doesn't mean socially awkward, shy, anti-social weirdo.

1) practice making small talk
2) practice eye contract
3) make sure you get as many OCI interviews as possible. Weirdos do WAY worse.
4) Go to firm events as an SA.
5) Try to be friendly to everyone
6) Try to find a way to be genuinely interested in people.
7) don't try to script communcation

weirdos aren't good at faking things.


While I don't disagree exactly, introversion and shyness (which leads to awkwardness) often go hand in hand. But I agree, a weirdo is a weirdo and not much can be done about that.

Anonymous User
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Re: ITT: we discuss social skills.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:51 pm

Simply amazed by the quality advice here guys. Merci.




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