Friday, September 18, 2009

Odds & Ends on Business Event Etiquette

UPDATE: 'Tis the holiday season -- family, tradition, joy. . . and business related celebrations -- too many to count. Right now is a great time to reinvigorate, renew and begin great relationships! I am reaching back into my archives this holiday season to bring back some of the most popular posts on event networking -- tips and ideas that will help you make the most of this December.

Odds & Ends on Business Event Etiquette
Here are some random tips I've picked up over the years on appropriate behaviors and courtesies when attending a business function:
  • Have your business card in an easy to reach location: If someone asks for a business card and you have to dig around your pockets or purse to find one what you are actually communicating is, "I didn't anticipate meeting anyone I'd want to know." Later when they look at the dog-eared card you finally produced they will be reminded again....
  • Keep your right hand out of your pocket and free of hors d'œuvres -- Shaking a clammy, sweaty or geasy hand is just no fun for the other person.
  • When talking with someone look them in the eye: It is rather unsettling to talk to a person when their eyes are darting back and forth and not focusing on you.
  • When talking with someone use his/her name in your conversation: People like to hear their own name! It is familiar, comforting and a signal that you really care about talking to him/her.
  • Use small words and speak slowly: Especially if the event is large and there is a lot of background noise. Amazingly , people like to hear and understand what someone is saying to them.
  • Smile and be optimistic: The perky optimist is always the most popular person in the room. "Life is good, opportunity abounds and the best is yet to come" -- spread it like butter at every event you attend.
  • Always thank the host(s): This simple yet widely overlooked courtesy will guarantee a return invitation and favored treatment.
Proper business etiquette is more than just knowing which fork to use or water glass to drink from. These were just a few, random ways to conduct myself at a business event that I hope you honor when you are at yours.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is This Exciting or What!? The Wild West of Legal Marketing

I met me, twenty-five years ago, this evening in San Francisco -- a shout out to Ali, an incredible young marketing talent that gave me a chance to express why I love what I do...

I had an early dinner with some VC friends to talk shop and blah, blah, blah. Afterward I sought out the one cigar bar I heard was in the area to indulge my joy in a good stick and happened into a couple of great conversations, one of which renewed my joy for what I do.

Ali (remember the shout-out a few sentences ago) is a by-choice out-of-work marketing person looking for her next challenge and she was intrigued that my profession is marketing for a law firm. She reminded me the journey is more interesting than the destination. Her excitement about what I do reminded me of what I already know but may have forgotten for a moment:
  • Marketing a law firm is so custom and nontraditional to all things book-smart that every day has new excitement and lessons.
  • Marketing a law firm is still so new a profession we are all still discovering nuances at a 1000mph.
  • Lawyers and law firms are incredible, non-stop think-tanks that challenge me to be at the top of my game every moment, every day.
  • Law firms are first-class operations allowing me the opportunity to be in circles of influence most people dream of (even when I am not yet equal to the people and communities of the circle).
  • Lawyers and law firms absolutely demand creative thinking.
At the end of our conversation Ali was completely motivated to explore my profession, and more importantly I was inspired to keep doing what I've chosen. Out here in the wild west of law firm marketing I am pleased to ride the fences....

Is this exciting or WHAT!? You betcha!

Friday, September 04, 2009

10 Things Lawyers Can Do to Turn Off Potential Clients

  1. Appear Passive: Clients want a Champion, not a wimp! The positive stereotype of a lawyer is, "smart, sharp, strategically aggressive, intuitive, reassuring, and confident." Be anything less and you offer nothing for a potential client to believe in.
  2. Be Boring: Most of any client relationship is their ability to connect to YOU. Being insufferable and long-winded is a recipe for a short term relationship. By the way, how many insufferable bores do you keep close to you?
  3. Look Scruffy: One of the reasons law firm office decor should appear to be the habitat of success is that people want to retain successful lawyers. If you do not dress as a success yourself you are definitely sending a bad message about your ability to represent. Get it? If you look good you must be good. If you look bad you must suck!
  4. Be Too Committed: Professional distance is a good thing. Appearing objective with reason is what clients want. If you make every matter a cause and personal mission your objectivity and attractiveness decline significantly.
  5. Have Dodgy Peers: Your friends and valued peers are a good indicator of who you are. If you insist on hanging out with objectionable people (to your target clients) then get used to having objectionable clients.
  6. Be Too Boastful: Say just enough and you are golden, say too much and you are a self-indulging bore. The best way to manage talking about yourself is to shut up and wait to be asked.
  7. Talk Only About Yourself: In no setting ever is it appropriate for you to monopolize a conversation by talking about you. As matter of fact if you contribute more than 30% of the words spoken you are on the losing side.
  8. Be a Zealot About Your Beliefs: A business setting is not a place for a recruiting new zealots to your beliefs. Ever! Leave your flags and causes at the door.
  9. Use Corny Tag Lines and Platitudes: "I am the number one person in my field", and "I can take care of you like you've never been taken care of before." is stuff any idiot can recite. If you use any tag line it means you are trying too hard! Instead, just relax and have a normal conversation. What you hope to communicate will come out naturally in its own good time.
  10. Say Him/Her is Wrong: Just because he/she has made poor choices is no reason to destroy your chances at putting things right. Do not offer to fix their mistakes -- offer to present new opportunities.

Graphic Artists are Crazy

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