Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

Law Practice Management Tip

It’s not what you say; It’s how you say it

In my last LPM tip, I discussed the importance of creating a clear and focused biography for your website. Similarly, I suggested that it is also important to have a profile on LinkedIn which communicates the same message. Deciding who you are as a professional (and who you are not) is a critical step in trying to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace. If you have a well defined niche and you have a good strategy for keeping in touch with your referral sources, over time, you are much more likely to generate leads. But what happens when you have a live prospect who is thinking about hiring you?

Being able to speak about what you do in a clear and succinct way is also important. Someone who is thinking about buying legal services is looking for someone they can trust. Part of that trust comes from the belief that you have experience in helping similarly situated clients with similar problems.

While the words you use are certainly important, your non verbal communication is actually even more important. Does your body language project confidence that you can help the client? Does the tone of your voice suggest that you know what you are doing and you have handled problems like this for many other clients?

It is well documented that your body language and the tone of your voice communicate far more than the words that come out of your mouth. If you make good eye contact and hold yourself in a confident posture, you are more likely to convince a prospect to trust you than if you are looking down or slouching. Similarly, demonstrating that you have good listening skills is another way to engender trust. Greet someone with a solid handshake. A limp handshake communicates weakness. A bone cruncher communicates insensitivity.

In short, all of these nonverbal cues will tell someone a lot more about who you are and whether or not you are trustworthy.

In poker, there is a concept called "a tell," a nonverbal indication that gives the other players clues about what you really have in your hand. So like a good poker player, try to elevate your awareness of your body gestures, the tone of your voice, how you hold your body, and whether you are making good eye contact. Even if you are a newer lawyer and don't necessarily feel that confident, you can still project confidence and this will go a long way towards helping you to get the prospect to retain you.

Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal Consulting and Coaching.

Published October 11, 2012


To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Cynthia E. MacCausland.
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