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21 posts categorized "Ten Rules"

July 13, 2010

Ten (New) Truths of CLE

To many lawyers, their state-mandated continuing legal education (CLE) is a necessary chore to be completed, rather than an anticipated opportunity to hone their skills in an exciting and stimulating environment.  Part of the reason lawyers don’t love CLE more is that the traditional panel-centric format has -- to put it nicely -- grown stale.  Even if listening to three speakers reading their slides worked once, it doesn’t work now.  The audience has changed -- and the industry must change with it.

In this article, I offer ten observations, tips and even some advice to those in the CLE business.  Though these aren’t my talking points, they mirror much of what I’m going to be speaking about at the Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) in my talk “The Innovative CLE: Ten Bold Proposals for Change” later this month in New York City.
1.  If you ask your attendees what they’re buying from you and they answer “CLE credit,” you’ve got a terrible problem.  Stop selling credit, and instead sell understanding, collaboration and community.  Give lawyers what they need to keep their clients happy -- not just what they need to keep their license.

2.  Your audience has far less attention to pay than they once did.  Recognize that your events must change because your attendees already have.  And never confuse your audience’s attendance for their attention:  while you only have to earn their attendance once, you’ve got to earn their attention all event long.

3.  Your audience’s ability to pay attention at your event is inversely proportional to their ability to pay attention to the outside world.  There’s a very fine line between supporting their technology and giving them yet another way to check their fantasy football standings.

4.  Lawyers love online CLE -- not because it improves upon the in-person experience, but because it duplicates it.  If lawyers are going to passively consume information from a speaker or panelist, they might as well do it from their desk as they get some “real” work done.  If you want lawyers to attend your programs, offer them something they can’t get online, like the ability to work with (and learn from) the other attendees in the room.

5.  Convincing lawyers to attend your programs begins with answering their one simple question: “How will this make me better at what I do?”  Focus less on the specific things they’ll learn, and more upon how their practice will improve the moment they leave your event.

6.  People complain loudest about the price of things they don’t want to buy.  If your customers say your prices are too high, focus first on giving them more value -- and if you must cut the price, don’t be afraid to give them less.  Also, never forget that the price of your event matters less to attendees than their cost to attend it. 

7.  Your attendees will get far more “networking” done when they are thinking together than when they are drinking together.

8.  Imagine a second-grade class room where the teacher never makes time to answer the students’ questions.  Asking 300 people, with two minutes left before the next session starts, “Are there any questions?” is a lot like that.

9.  You aren’t serving lawyers well if you refuse to teach them to attract great clients and run their businesses better.  It is a hell of a lot easier to be a competent, ethical attorney when you’re not worried about keeping your lights on and your family fed.

10.  Just because your audiences aren’t asking for a better experience doesn’t mean they don’t deserve one.  Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”  Think about ways to build a better CLE.  Experiment, and try new and novel things.  Your audience is far more likely to forgive your ambitiousness as they are to tolerate your ambivalence.

August 18, 2009

Ten Rules for Presentations Slides

Here's are the slides for my "Ten Rules for Presentations" posted to Slideshare.  Enjoy!

Ten Rules of Client Service Slides

I'd like to share the presentation of my Ten Rules of Client Service with you.  Here are the slides (posted using Slideshare).  I hope you like it.

July 06, 2009

Ten Rules for Presenters

Lately, I've been giving lots of presentations, and have six more coming up before the Summer ends. I work pretty hard on my speeches (here are a few examples of my slides) and thought I'd share some of the tips I've learned the hard way in this Ten Rules post. Enjoy!
1.  The greatest gift you can give your audience is a passion for your material. If you don't care for it, they won't care for you.

2.  Your audience’s attention is a lot like your virginity. You only get to lose it once.

3.  PowerPoint is always optional. A great speech doesn't improve when accompanied by slides in a dark room.

4.  If PowerPoint makes it easy to do, you probably shouldn’t do it. Avoid bullet points, clip art and cheesy animated transitions at all cost.

5.  The number of words on a slide is inversely proportional to the attention your audience will give it.

6.  Your slides are not your script. The purpose of PowerPoint is to help others understand your material, not to help you remember it.

7.  Never read your slides. When you do, it suggests to your audience you think they’re incapable of doing so themselves.

8.  The average person remembers just three things from your presentation. Great speakers make certain everyone remembers the same three things.

9.  Unless your presentation tells a story, the audience won't care about the ending -- they’ll just pray for it.
10.  Never underestimate the impact a great presentation can have on your audience or your career. Being prepared serves both of them well.
If you'd like to see more Ten Rules posts, you can check them all out here.  If you'd like to read thoughts like these as I have them, follow me on Twitter.

June 14, 2009

Ten Rules of the New Web

I just returned from the fantastic Missouri Solo and Small Firm Conference, where I led a session (with Reid Trautz) unofficially titled the New Web for Lawyers.  We talked Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogs.  Here are some of "Rules" we discussed:
1.  “Social media" isn’t rocket science.  It's just sharing who you are, what you do, and what you think with friends, colleagues and clients online.

2.  LinkedIn is: "Where are you working?" Facebook is: "What are you doing?" Twitter is: "What are you thinking?"

3.  Ever thought it would be cool to be invisible?  Ignore Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and to a vast number of your potential clients, you will be. 

4.  Want to understand the value of being active online?  Ask the guy standing in the corner by himself at your next networking event how many friends he’s made.

5.  First impressions are no longer made in person.  People want to get to know you before they meet you -- and the place they go is the web.  Are you there, and what kind of first impression do you make?

6.  Just because you are “friends” with someone online doesn’t mean they’d recognize you in a crowd of three people.  Make your online connections the start of relationships, not the extent of them.

7.  Unless you measure the value of your real friendships by business you receive from them, it is unfair to hold your online friends to a higher standard.

8.  The only thing you’ll get from your online friends are their updates… unless you ask them for more.

9.   Before Facebook, what happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas.  Now, what happens in Vegas can impact your business.  Be careful on Facebook, but ignore it at your peril.

10.  The most important social media tool is the telephone.  Reaching out to online friends can turn them into real ones.

If you'd like to see more Ten Rules posts, you can check them all out here.  If you'd like to read ideas like these as I develop them, follow me on Twitter.

May 12, 2009

Ten Rules for Conference Vendors

In March, I shared Ten Rules for Conference Attendees.  As the spring and summer conference seasons heat up, I've put together Ten Rules for Conference Vendors.  Here they are:
1.  If the only way you can sell your value proposition is with a white paper, you don't have a value proposition.

2.  You do not earn my attention by giving me a pen. You earn it by solving a problem I can't solve without you.

3.  The more your booth looks like everyone else's the more I think your product does what everyone else’s does, too.

4.  Don’t get offended if I don’t believe your product will do what you promise.  I’ve been burned before by people who sounded and looked a lot like you.

5.  Everyone working your booth should have a 7 word answer to the question “What do you do?”  The first three words of that answer should be “We help you…”

6.  The number of words on your booth is inversely proportional to the likelihood I’ll read any of them.

7.  These five words should NEVER appear on your booth: Trusted, Leading, Innovative, Premier, and Unique.  If they do, you probably aren’t.

8.  Dump the booth babes.  If I can’t trust you to make good decisions about your marketing, how can I trust you to make good decisions about serving me?

9.  Your product’s benefits are not as different from your competitors’ as you believe them to be.  Instead of selling me “unique” features, sell me outstanding service.

10.  Capture my attention before you capture my contact information.  A one-dollar USB drive in exchange for a year of emails and telephone calls is not a fair trade.
You can read the rest of my 10 Rules Posts here

May 11, 2009

Ten Rules of Networking

Networking events are part and parcel of a business person's life.  Next time you find yourself at a networking event, keep in mind these Ten Rules, and the people you meet will thank me:
1.  “Network” isn’t something you do, it is something you build.

2.  Meeting someone for five minutes at a networking event does not entitle you to become their “friend” on Facebook. Ever!  Feel free to send them a LinkedIn invite, though.

3.  It takes more time to recover from a weak handshake than it does to learn to give a firm one.

4.  Your life story is far more interesting to you than to someone you've just met -- and you've already heard it before.

5.  Stories that start with, “This one time, I almost ….” are boring as hell.  Learn to embrace experiences instead of avoiding them.

6.  Never enter a conversation at networking event with more than half a drink in your hand. Needing a refill is great excuse to leave.

7.  Asking someone "What do you do?" w/in a minute of meeting suggests your interest in them depends on their answer.

8.  When you meet someone for the first time, make certain they don't hear you complain. About anything.

9.  The most underrated skill to possess at networking events is ability to end conversations, not start them.

10.  Never "network" to meet people. Network to help people.
You can read the rest of my 10 Rules Posts here.  I'll see you at the next networking event!

May 04, 2009

100 Tweets: Thinking About Law Practice in 140 Characters or Less.

I really like Twitter.  For those who follow me, you know that I try to share lots of legal-themed tips, thoughts and ideas.  In fact, most of my Ten Rules posts started out on Twitter -- where I'll test 15-25 "rules" to see which ones work best before picking the ten favorites.

However, there's lots of stuff that lives on Twitter now that used to live here on the blog.  And since I don't expect everyone reading this to follow me there (or go back and read through my 2000+ Twitter messages), I decided to compile a "Best Of" list of my favorite tweets. 

So, here (in .pdf form) is a little e-book I've titled: 
100 Tweets: Thinking about Law Practice in 140 Characters or Less.  It contains my favorite 100 tweets, in no particular order, and should give you a sense of what I share on Twitter that you don't always see here.

If you enjoy it, and would like to follow me on Twitter, I'll see you there.

April 28, 2009

Ten Rules PDF Preview

As I gear up for several speaking engagements this summer, I'm putting together my slides and handouts this week.  While most of these will ultimately live at my LexThink site, I thought I'd share the first one with you here on the blog.

Here are my Ten Rules of Client Service (from my original post here) in a spiffy new pdf format that I hope will turn into an e-book of sorts.

I hope you enjoy the look, and find the pdf easy to share.  Let me know what you think.

March 31, 2009

Ten Rules for Conference Attendees

With the ABA's Techshow and the LMA Annual Conference kicking off in tandem this week, I thought it was a good time to revisit a list I did a few years ago about attending conferences.  Here are my Ten Rules for Conference Attendees:
1.  The amount of preparation you do before the conference is directly proportional to the benefits you'll receive after it.

2.  Never attend a conference without at least three questions you want answered.  Never leave until they have been.

3.  Your ability to pay attention to conference speakers and attendees is inversely proportional to your ability to pay attention to the outside world.  If you can’t leave the real world behind for an hour or two, please don’t leave it at all.

4.  The most important people at the conference are sitting next to you.  They are like you.  They can help you.  Ignore them at your peril.

5.  Vendors know your industry and the other attendees better than you do.  Talk with them.  Learn from them.  Then take a few pens.

6.  A conference rolls thousands of first impressions into a three-day period.  Be kind, listen well, don’t dress like a slob, and pick up the tab every once in a while.

7.  Don’t go to a conference until you can answer -- in less than 5 seconds -- the question, “What do you do?”

8.  Don’t tell someone you’ll follow up unless you intend to.  Breaking the first promise you make to someone makes them believe you’ll break others, too.

9.  The only thing you need at most conferences is an exhibit hall pass.  The true value of the event is in the conversations and not the presentations.  Forget the sessions, hang out in the hallway (and the bar) and listen.  A lot.

10.  Knowing someone online is not the same as knowing them in person.  Don’t assume that someone you follow on Twitter, friended on Facebook and linked to on LinkedIn knows who the hell you are.  Introduce yourself as if you’re a stranger, make friends the old fashioned way and your relationship will be stronger as a result.
You can read the rest of my 10 Rules Posts here.  I'll see you at the next event!