For those of you on my Facebook, or who follow me on Twitter, you know how proud I am that my DD1 (darling daughter #1) was elected vice president of her student body at the local elementary school. What astounds me, however, is the speech that my 4th grader wrote, without my assistance, and how it aligns so well with what I’m trying to accomplish as a legal marketer, and as the author/editor of The Legal Watercooler.
Good afternoon fellow students of ____________ School. I am ______ Milligan from Room 15 and today I am running for vice president. Here are some reason you should vote for me over my worthy opponents. First, I am friendly. I have many friends that are usually ready to help me.
1. Differentiate yourself without tearing down your opponent. 2. Be friendly. People like to hire and work with people who are friendly. Yes, there is always a need for the bull-dog litigator, but be the guy or gal that your client would enjoy having a beer with, taking in a game, or hanging out until 3:00 a.m. in trial preparation.
Second, I care. I want to hear your ideas! Just come to me with an idea you have thought over, and I’ll try to suggest it to the student council.
3. It’s about communication. Listen to your clients. Collaborate. Yes, you’re a great attorney, but others in your network have great ideas as well. Be open to the messages of others, whether your client, an associate, a paralegal, your assistant (your marketing professional).
Next, I try! I will really try to make this school better for you and everyone around you by getting a group of people together to clean up trash and leaves around the school. If we find any recyclables I would try to recycle them. I would love to keep our school clean.
4. Be a doer. Be proactive. Look for solutions to problems you clients might not realize they have yet. Use resources wisely. And, hey, recycle. It’s good for the environment!
Fourth, I’m funny. Last year we made yearbooks. Most people wrote that I was funny and that they could always count on me to cheer them up.
5. Don’t be a glum lot. There’s a reason there are so many lawyer jokes out there. People really don’t “look forward” to a call from their lawyer. It’s usually not good news. By inserting your personality into the relationship people will look forward to receiving a call from YOU!
Finally, I participate and I am willing. I am in extra curricular activities, like EcoStation. I am willing to help when you need help.
6. That’s right. Participate in what’s going on in your client’s world. Attend the conferences they attend. Be seen. Be present. And be authentic while doing all of this. 7. Be willing to do what you need to do. Be willing to help. Whatever it is. “Not my job” shouldn’t be part of your vocabulary, or your lifestyle. One thing I have learned is that I might not be the right person to handle the job tactically, but the attorneys I work with know that they can count on me to get the job done by finding the right resources. Be that person. Be the person that your clients can count on! 8. Don’t forget to participate in your own life. Round your life out! Have fun!!! Have something interesting to talk about!!! If all you do is work, all you have to talk about is work. And you don’t want to be “that guy” or “that girl.”
Thank you for your time. I hope these ideas help. Remember, to vote for me. KT 4 VP.
8. Don’t forget to toot your own horn and end things on a call to action. And, finally, from DD1’s proud mom: inspiration can be found anywhere. However, when we are so self-focused it is hard to see beyond our own noses. We need to learn how to put our egos aside, be of service, and share our accomplishments with those around us. Life is tough right now out there. Clients have needs that you might not be aware of. Take off your blinders. It’s not about how many new matters they open with you; the amount of hours you can bill. It’s about relationships. Learn how to be a person that people like and with whom people want to do business. Be collaborative, and don’t forget to have fun! And recycle.