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Why Podcasting Is an Introverted Lawyer’s Dream Networking Tool

The last time I went to an in-person networking event — over a year ago thanks to COVID-19 — I remember sitting in my car and giving myself a pep talk. “This is a party. Go inside and enjoy it. This is a party. Go inside and enjoy it,” I repeated over and over again to myself.

Michelle Calcote King

While I’m the life of a party when I’m with my friends, I loathe networking events and dread small talk. Instead, I enjoy substantive conversations and don’t know how to achieve meaty, engaging discussions with people I don’t know very well. Thus, the topics stay in the weather and cute-things-my-dog-did-today categories. I inevitably go home exhausted and dreading the next time I have to discuss the weather with strangers while snacking on a charcuterie board.

I don’t consider myself an introvert (I’m more of an ambivert), but long ago I recognized my introverted nature when it comes to business networking. As I work primarily with lawyers, I recognize the same quality in many of them. In fact, 60% of lawyers are believed to be introverts. In a profession that requires relationship-building in order to build business, how can introverts overcome this aversion to networking? In my case, I found podcasting.

Yes, podcasting. I started my agency’s podcast, Spill the Ink, in late 2020. I was late to the podcasting game. In fact, I had resisted starting a podcast as I believed that the legal marketing and PR space was too saturated with podcasts for me to make an impact. I changed my mind, however, following a conversation with Elise Holtzman, a legal business development coach and host of The Lawyer’s Edge podcast.

Elise explained that her strategy was focused more on relationship-building than audience-building. The audience would come, eventually, but Elise was more focused on the one-on-one conversations she was having with people who were new to her network — especially potential referral sources. This one-to-one networking was highly valuable, and the podcast format allowed her to do it in a structured, purposeful way. I was intrigued and decided to take the plunge.

“With podcasting, your networking is focused on the right people — potential clients, referral sources and others who enhance your professional network.”

What I found is that podcasts are an ideal platform for introverted networkers like lawyers. Here’s why:


When doing a podcast interview, you are technically alone. I conduct all my podcast interviews via Zoom, so I’m having a virtual face-to-face conversation. I only publish the audio for now, but I still get the benefit of looking someone in their eyes while having a meaningful conversation without ever having to leave my office. (I do miss the charcuterie board, though.)

Conversations are recorded and later edited. That means if a dog barks, if the conversation lulls or if you venture into a topic that you don’t want to include in the final version, you can edit it out.


With podcasting, your networking is focused on the right people — potential clients, referral sources and others who enhance your professional network. Imagine if you could walk into a networking event, immediately find a potential client, have a focused one-on-one conversation with them, and then promote the nuggets of wisdom you both shared to your networks later on? This is what a podcast does for you and more.

When I first started mine, I brainstormed a list of guests. I first focused on referral sources — i.e., other legal industry service providers who served the same clientele but offered different services. I’ve interviewed website designers, customer relationship management consultants, search engine optimization firms, business development coaches and a range of other specialists. These people are all excited to be featured on a platform that reaches the audience they, too, want to reach.

I’m now focused on interviewing managing partners of small to midsize business law firms, which are my target client. Eventually I’ll move on to interviewing legal media reporters and editors, an integral part of my network.

At the end of every interview, I ask the guest for an introduction to someone they think would make a great guest. I’ve made valuable connections that I never would have without the podcast. The format gives me a meaningful reason to connect with someone and expands my network to include the guest’s network.


Throw the weather convo out the window! When I schedule a podcast, I have a clear idea of the type of conversation I want to have, and I communicate that to the guest. I typically spend about an hour researching the guest and writing up a list of questions. While great podcast interviews are free-flowing, it helps to have a list of questions prepared and a loose structure to keep the conversation on track.

Most podcast interviews are a half-hour to an hour in length. What other way could you have a substantive conversation with a valuable new connection, focused on a relevant topic, in less than an hour?


At the end of a typical networking conversation, you come away with a business card and a LinkedIn connection, at most. However, with a podcast interview, in addition to the new connection you’ve made, you create a piece of content that adds not just to your marketing arsenal, but also to your guest’s. You can share that podcast on LinkedIn, post it to your website and populate it to the range of podcast services such as Spotify, Apple and Google Podcasts.

If you’re the type that dreads networking, stop attending the events and instead launch your own podcast. Consider your time hosting the podcast as a replacement for all those business networking events you used to go to. Your introverted self will thank you.

HR Feature Human Resources Management

Raising the Value of Employee Reviews

Follow these 6 tips for effective performance management at your law firm.

Successful performance management should be a top priority for every law firm. But without the right plan and tools, the employee review process can be an administrative nightmare and can ultimately fall flat in its value to both the firm and its employees.

Mary Kate Sheridan, JD

Indeed, 96% of managers are not satisfied with their organization’s performance management system, according to research by Gartner. Those at the top aren’t alone in their concerns. The Growth Divide Study — conducted by Wakefield Research and commissioned by Reflektive — found that “most employees feel the process is outdated (61%) because it’s too generic (22%) or too infrequent (6%) and often incomplete (62%).”

“I think the problem with most performance management processes is the performance review tends to be annual and isn’t discussed other than at that exact time,” says Alexandra Levit, author of Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future. “It becomes a high-pressure, high-effort endeavor.”

With the right strategy and tools, however, performance reviews can become a valuable asset for your law firm. Below are tips for maximizing performance reviews through transparent communication, proper scheduling, integration of technology, continuous engagement, follow-up meetings and flexibility.


The key to an effective performance management plan is to first develop the overarching goals and purpose of the employee reviews. As Mercer’s “Performance Transformation in the Future of Work” indicates, “any enhancements to a company’s performance management process must start with HR leaders setting a strategy that combines the business priorities with the desired employee experience.”

Tying together the company’s goals and individual performance establishes a foundation on which to evaluate employees and offers employees transparency into their contributions to the company’s mission. “Goal clarity provides an employee with a sense of how they connect to the overall business purpose and make an impact,” the Mercer report says.

“I think you have to really explain the reason why you’re doing the reviews, whether they’re for salary purposes, mentorship, performance warnings, etc. I think if you put it in terms of financials, that makes people more receptive.”

Also, sharing how the reviews will be used from the outset can help build buy-in from employees and those reviewing them, as they will understand what is at stake. “I think you have to really explain the reason why you’re doing the reviews, whether they’re for salary purposes, mentorship, performance warnings, etc.,” says Cynthia Thomas, Executive Director of the legal management consulting firm PLMC & Associates. “I think if you put it in terms of financials, that makes people more receptive.”


Once your firm has established how its performance management process links to the firm’s goals, it is important to provide reviewers and staff with a schedule and necessary resources up front.

Krystal Champlin, Chief Executive Officer of RJH Consulting, advises law firm administrators to have a meeting at the beginning of each year through which all HR-related expectations are conveyed, including those relating to performance reviews. Managers and staff should be made aware of the calendar for the performance evaluation process, and all necessary resources should be provided at the onset.

“In the beginning of every year, HR needs to send out the forms they are going to use, so the team can get familiar with them,” says Champlin.

Administrators should also consider the timing of the review itself and provide guidelines for best practices. For example, requiring that managers schedule reviews and actually deliver them is a critical step. Thomas notes that among the biggest mistakes firms make with regard to the review process is failing to deliver the review or delivering it late.

“I think everything needs to be on the calendar,” says Thomas, who recommends that administrators set reminders and early self-deadlines for anyone reviewing a member of the staff.

Further, the timing of the review itself can have a big impact on how it is received. “Make sure you do it at the right time of day,” says Thomas. “I never like to do reviews first thing in the morning because if it’s not the greatest review, it ruins productivity for the day.”


Some of the biggest hurdles with managing performance is coordinating among the various stakeholders and organizing the information collected through reviews. Administrators should consider a technological solution to aid with these processes.

“The best way to collect feedback from a variety of sources is to do it digitally,” says Levit. “Having a system that can ping multiple people and collect information in one place is incredibly useful.”

Performance management software can host and track various aspects of the employee review process, such as performance reviews (which often are customizable), 360 feedback, goal creation and tracking, continuous feedback, self-assessments, performance analytics and more.

“The best way to collect feedback from a variety of sources is to do it digitally. Having a system that can ping multiple people and collect information in one place is incredibly useful.”

The sheer number of options can be overwhelming, however, and firms may be unsure where to begin. Levit recommends that administrators start by coordinating with the firm’s IT department to determine what, if any, technology the firm has in the human capital space — e.g., technology related to payroll, onboarding, etc. Your firm’s current technology may already offer capabilities for performance management, or you may be able to add on to the technology in place. If not, legal managers should take time to research the myriad performance management software options and determine which one best fits with the organization’s size and goals.

In assessing technology options, consider the value of a holistic approach, which can provide numerous benefits to performance management.

“Ideally you would have an end-to-end human capital management (HCM) system,” says Levit, “which is a technology system that connects people throughout an employee’s life cycle, from recruitment to onboarding to learning and development to performance, and so forth.” These systems are particularly useful for performance management because data is consistent, and managers have access to data across various points, including training completed, feedback collected, etc. “If everyone has a digital footprint in that system, you don’t have to create a review from scratch,” says Levit.

Such a system prevents reviews from being done in a box. In fact, according to Mercer’s 2019 Global Performance Management Study, “70% of companies say there is a need to improve the link between performance management and other talent decisions.”


Another potential roadblock both for buy-in purposes and for ease of collecting performance data is the annual nature of many performance review systems.

“You don’t want to get to the annual review and bring up something that happened eight months ago,” says Champlin. “A lot of time employees go into these performance evaluations and are surprised by the feedback they’re getting.”

Legal managers should consider incorporating continuous feedback and/or coaching throughout the year, rather than offering feedback just once a year.

Continuous Feedback

According to the 2019-2020 State of Continuous Performance Management Survey by BetterWorks, “HR teams that have implemented a continuous performance program report being nearly 50% more satisfied with their performance management process, and are 24% more likely to recommend this methodology compared to companies that still rely on annual processes.”

And employees themselves perceive tremendous benefits from regular feedback, as opposed to a once-a-year meeting. Research from Gallup indicates that employees who receive weekly feedback from managers (as opposed to annual feedback) are “5.2x more likely to strongly agree that they receive meaningful feedback, 3.2x more likely to strongly agree they are motivated to do outstanding work, [and] 2.7x more likely to be engaged at work.” The benefits of regular feedback may provide more incentive for employees to engage in the performance review process.

“It’s very helpful to have continuous, ongoing dialogue and feedback, especially in the case of an employee that may be struggling or who has deficiencies that may need to be corrected. It creates a dialogue, and it gives the employee the sense that you care about them and want them to do well in the firm.”

Legal managers should create a uniform strategy for collecting continuous feedback, whether through an HCM system or other technology, to provide managers with guidelines for when and how to provide feedback.

“The best thing administrators can do is make this as easy as possible by tying reviews to the feedback managers are already giving employees — and have a system where there is a continuous loop,” says Levit. For example, firms may ask managers to provide short, tweet-length feedback regularly via the HCM system. “It’s very easy to do because they are quick messages, which can then be collected in one place,” she says.

A continuous feedback model may improve efficiency because managers can provide comments in real time, rather than looking back to remember what happened throughout the year. This process may make it more manageable for administrators because they can collect and organize data throughout the year, and it also may benefit employees who can apply feedback immediately.

“It’s very helpful to have continuous, ongoing dialogue and feedback, especially in the case of an employee that may be struggling or who has deficiencies that may need to be corrected,” says Thomas. “It creates a dialogue, and it gives the employee the sense that you care about them and want them to do well in the firm.”


Firms may also incorporate coaching throughout the year to address any concerns as they surface. Champlin shares that when you proactively offer coaching, employees are more inclined to change their behavior because they see it as a benefit to them. Also important is giving the employee a voice in shaping a solution. “Let the employee have buy-in on that process,” says Champlin.


An often-forgotten aspect of performance reviews is the follow-up meeting.

“After you have the formal review, follow up with the person in a couple of weeks,” says Thomas. “Ask if the employee has any thoughts, comments or clarifications.” Thomas recommends a follow-up meeting both so the staff member can reflect and return with any questions and so the reviewer can think about the discussion and address any points raised during the review.

If administrators would like to incorporate follow-up into the review process, it should be formalized in the schedule. But be sure to give the employee sufficient time to reflect on their review.


The year 2020 forced law firms to reexamine many of their processes and systems to better serve a remote workforce in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Clear Review’s 2021 Performance Management Report, more than half of human resource directors believed that “the management of employee performance is more important as remote working is becoming more prevalent.” Administrators should develop strategies to engage with employees regarding the review process and virtual delivery of reviews.

The review process is an opportunity to engage with employees and drive the firm’s goals. Successful performance management requires robust communication, a well-developed schedule and organizational tools. With a solid plan, you’ll be ready to rejuvenate your firm’s review process — and reap the benefits.