The holidays are officially upon us and the stress of gifting as well. Black Friday, Cyber Monday be damned.

But we’ve all been there. We go out of our way to purchase the “perfect gift,” only to see the recipient nod a little “thanks” in our direction. Or we give a little something, only to see the person’s face light up and joy fills the room.

So before you start sending out gift baskets galore, take a moment to read this post.

Gratitude is a science, and we can measure it

Gift wrapped in measuring tapeWhen it comes to gifting, it turns out there is a science behind it.

Gratitude–which is what gifting is about–actually relieves stress, and can be measured.

Who knew?

Well, apparently Glenn R. Fox, a USC professor who spoke at our firm recently. While Dr. Fox’s talk was on gratitude as a whole, it turns out that they measure gratitude through gift giving. Which, ironically, was perfect timing as my department was getting ready to embark on the our annual “Holiday Gifts” program.
Continue Reading The science behind good gifting

I am attending the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women’s Summit. Our firm is a sponsor, and our partner Karina Sterman was a panelist.

Image of LABJ's Women's Council & AwardsFor the legal marketers reading this post: get out of the office and attend the events you sponsor. I am always “too busy” to attend, but I am reminded once again today why it’s so important.

First of all, I now understand this event, the nuances, and how to market this event within our firm. Even if our table is filled, the “sales” side of the program will always makes space for you to stop by and “get a personal feel” for the event.

Secondly, Karina and I were able to brainstorm some strategies in the back of the room and we are going to create a program for our clients based on some information we heard.

Beyond seeing how our firm can be a better sponsor and take advantage of the program, I’m gleaming good information for ME.

It’s a professional women’s summit. The panels are all about our careers. With 20 years invested in my legal marketing career, there is always more I can learn, and pass along. Continue Reading Free advice on a Friday afternoon

“Be curious, not critical,” was the advice of Peter Guber at the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission’s recent board room program on eSports. The impressive panel of industry leaders were speaking to an audience filled with impressive Los Angeles business leaders about the rise of eSports (and a brief education on what eSports is), along with how it will impact the various businesses represented.

Be Curious, Not Critical.

This was Guber’s first piece of advice that I found particularly relevant for lawyers when approaching something new, like eSports, or business development, or the idea of blogging/social media, or insert the last thing your marketing professional suggested. Continue Reading Be curious, not critical. Business advice for lawyers.

Jonathan Fitzgarrald and i started speaking about the generational divide several years ago. Our primary focus was on how the law firms, by not passing on leadership rolls to the younger generations, were putting themselves at risk, as their clients had already made the generational shift.

As time passed, and we began speaking at other conferences beyond legal marketing, we began to discuss the shifts within our firms.

So. Millennials. What are we going to do about  the Millennials? Aren’t we all asking the same question?

I had my own recent experience that I want to raise to the level of a warning to us all. My marketing manager left us to work for the do-good-work start-up where she had been volunteering. She felt she could balance her corporate life by doing good outside of work. Until they offered her “enough” money to join them full-time. Continue Reading A new Millennial conundrum

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LMA Annual Conference – 2015

We all attend professional conferences. Some are close-knit groups, such as the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference; others will have 10s of thousands in attendance, and take over a whole city (ACC Annual Meeting, CES, NRF’s Big Show).

Sometimes we will know no one attending, other times hundreds due to our level of involvement in the organization.

No matter how many people you know or don’t know, speaker or not, first time attendee or not, you need to prepare to maximize the time you will be there, and out of the office.

I start to prepare for a conference  approximately two weeks or so before my departure. When I say I do these things, I really do them, and I coach others to do so as well for one reason: They work. Continue Reading Don’t be a lurker. 6 Things to Do BEFORE Attending a Conference

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I’m having a fan-girl moment. Someone very high up in my industry caught wind that I will soon be visiting his city. Mr. Big sent me a LinkedIn message saying he’d love to buy me a cup of coffee so we can finally meet in person. He wants to meet me. OMG. I didn’t know he knew I existed. We’re 1st degree LinkedIn connections and all, but what does that really mean?

I haven’t said much about this upcoming trip. It’s personal to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and check out some colleges. Mr. Big could only know about the trip via a Facebook comment I made in a private group, and he then contacted me via LinkedIn messaging.

Seriously. This never would have happened before social media. I would never have been on his radar, and he certainly would never know that I was planning a trip to his fair city.

I was at lunch earlier today discussing how important our connections are in respect to an entirely different topic … my employment. Who I know is important to my job so that I can bring the right resources on any given project. Who I know is important so that I can make the right introductions to bring the right business opportunity. Who I know is important to save you money, and to make you money.Who I know is important. Period.

I manage all of my relationships these days through LinkedIn and Facebook (sorry Twitter). I provide value. I share to the point where people know me. I make connections. And it is all natural and organic to me.  In this past week I have identified, through status updates, new research and topics that will be perfect for my internal education program.

Social media is the most important and powerful business development tool I have ever come across. It does not discriminate. It works for introverts and extroverts, thinkers and feelers equally. It quickly allows you to separate the BSers from the value-adders. It saves time, and it allows me, with very minimal effort, to identify, connect, and develop new and deeper relationships.

My question to you is this: What are you missing out on by not harnessing your social media footprint? Most likely, you’ll never know.

us at LMAYes, I’ve been in San Diego since Saturday for the “pre-prom” get togethers. In LMA I have met some of my dearest friends, mentors, colleagues, bosses, inspirations. LMA has allowed me to grow and develop my craft, while maintaining my sanity. I know the Twitter hashtag (@LMA15) has been blowing up for days, the pictures in the LME Facebook groups are flowing, but the conference actually just kicked off with a great timeline video (Happy 30th Conference Anniversary, LMA). Dan Pink is our keynote. Were going to learn a 1-3-5 … so let us begin: Continue Reading LMA – Let the Conference Begin in 1-3-5

Many years ago I was vacationing on Dominica and stayed at a hotel that was built out of the original fort. Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets Black Sails. The dining room was not always clean. The white table clothes were slightly stained with wine spills from the prior diners. However, the service was impeccable. The pride and care the staff took in the most mundane activity of pouring a glass of water is so memorable that almost two decades later I could easily write 500 words to describe it. I hadn’t realized it at time, but noticed it that day, but service in restaurants in the States had really gone downhill since the days of Chasen’s and Scandia. The art of service — the pride in service — is so rare that when you experience it, you realize how lacking it is around you; whether in a restaurant, behind the meat counter at the supermarket, at Starbucks, or at work. Which brings me to this week. I bade farewell to one of my assistants this week, Kaye Heller. I knew and worked with Kaye for a whole month and a week, yet I know one thing for certain: Her attention to detail and pride in her work will be missed at the firm, within my department, and by me. Whether ordering a lunch service, processing a sponsorship request, or circulating an e-mail touting the firm in the news for the week, nothing was done by Kaye without purpose and care, along with pride and attention to detail. How rare is this today? I am the first to admit that my care to detail, while great, is not perfect. I have been known to “phone it in” when I could have dropped everything and given it my all. And, yes, sometimes good enough is good enough for me. In fact, I have been known to have typos in my blog posts; and I’m okay with that. Not so with Kaye, and the Kayes of the world out there. To these rare souls, I salute you. And to all of us who are service providers, we need to take stock and inventory of our personal service standards and shake off that cloak of complacency. Don’t our clients deserve that? We talk about client service standards, but how often are they designed around us rather than the client? A client this week sent one of our partners a birthday cake. I had to take a peek at what the cake looked like. Was it phoned in from Costco? Expensive and fancy from one of the top L.A. bakeries? What caught my attention were the personal details that only the client (not the personal assistant) would know. No Happy Birthday was necessary. The cake reflected the passions of the partner. In a presentation we did together last year, Dave Bruns talked about the client relationship cycle (which I have completely stolen, by the way). When properly moved along, a client not only becomes loyal, but becomes an advocate of the service provider (works both for lawyers and legal marketers), referring them business. I’m beginning to see that there is a higher level as well. At a certain point, the client becomes a true fan of the service provider. The client will go just as far for the service provider as the service provider goes for them. The relationship becomes balanced in this way. A true partnership. I’m sure I’ll find a nice and memorable term for this level of client/service provider symbiotic relationship, so if you have any ideas, post them in the comments and I’ll give you credit in the footnotes of my slides if I use it. In the meantime, Kaye, we will miss you. We’ll stumble. We’ll be fine. And thank you.

Time for some Monday morning quarterbacking and dissecting of the game around the water cooler. For the Sports Dude, it will be about the game (and I will never live it down, but his prediction was 27-24 Patriots); for me, it’s about the commercials … and legal marketing.

Let’s just do it. Nationwide. What were you thinking???

Dead kids and the Super Bowl? Who thought that was a good combination?

In their defense/press release, well …

The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance. We want to build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us—the safety and well being of our children.

And here’s where they failed: the viewing public did not want to have this conversation. It was thrust upon us. It didn’t feel right. After watching heart-warming, after heart-warming kids and dads and puppies we got sucked in … and slapped down.

It’s not that the viewers (up to 50% of American households had the game on) were not willing to have deep conversations. At my house we discussed the Like A Girl commercial, and repeated it so everyone could see it, especially all the girls.

We also discussed domestic violence and how powerful this message was:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMZSh5MCyT4

We just didn’t expect, nor did we want, to discuss dead kids at a Super Bowl party where we were watching it with our kids.

So what does this have to do with lawyers and legal marketing? It has everything to do with it.

Lawyers have a message. It’s an important message. But that message needs to be presented at the right time and the right place; deliver it at the wrong time, and not only will it fall on deaf ears, you can completely ruin a relationship and tarnish your brand.

In coaching a lawyer for a meeting we walk through it all: location, who will be there, where are you in the sales cycle, what to say, what not to say, and what materials, if any, to bring, and the all important follow up.

Introduce a packet or pitch too early, and you will lose the ability to move that prospect to a client. Wait too long and you’ll never stop the random acts of lunch and baseball games.

Pitch the wrong person, and you’ll never get the work, wondering why your competitor always seems to win the new business over you.

Never pitch and you’ll never make partner.

And this is where a good rainmaker succeeds. For many it is instintive, but I will argue that it is just as easy to make this an intention. You just need the perpective. Pause. Get outside yourself. Place yourself into the shoes of your client. Speak with your legal marketer, or a successful rainmaker in your firm.

It’s not rocket science, but it is nuanced. Some attorneys get it instinctively, most do not. This isn’t taught in law school, or any where else. It’s about the human connection. And that’s why all those puppy and dad commercials work.

I started this year off wiping down my white board and getting ready to plan my year. IMG_9184 So much white. So much potential. So many ideas. I am not a huge fan of large and intense marketing plans; they usually just end up buried in some drawer somewhere, only to be pulled out at the end of the year to be revised for the next year. I prefer A Daily Resolution:

By setting daily resolutions and having daily goals, I am setting myself up for success. By doing this, day after day, I will achieve something wonderful over a span of time (could be one week or one year). The end results might not be exactly what others expect, or what I expected myself, however, the flexibility will allow me to alter my plans as to best accomplish what needs to get done today. Flexibility will allow me to adjust my sails to the changes in the economy, in technology, in my personal and professional relationships. By focusing on what can and must be accomplished today, I can set aside worrying about things that I have no power or control over (yet). I’m not saying, implying or inferring in any way, shape or form that you should not have, nor should you abandon, long-term plans and goals. I am just saying, break those action steps into daily activities, actions and resolutions. Focus on what can and must be done today.

In other words, you do need a plan, but you don’t need a complicated one. What I do, and suggest to the masses, is to focus on three to five larger ideas (buckets) that you can rattle off the tip of your tongue. Under each bucket fall the specific tasks. Those become your daily resolutions. So here’s my white board now. IMG_9185Eventually all the white will disappear filled in with ideas, tasks, notes, and more. I continue to manage my tasks through Get it Done, and am spending time this week cleaning out all my emails (work, personal, Girl Scouts) to make sure I am good to go. So Happy New Year to everyone. I look forward to a productive year, and look forward to the new experiences and good things to come.