The Lawyer Who Didn’t Like Introducing Himself

Guess the outcome of this post’s subject.
Limited pipeline?
Few billable hours?
Out of practice?

Yep, although lawyers can rely on putting in massive amounts of energy during the day, it would still be good for them to have someone to go home to. Or clients to help. Work to keep them busy, that they originated or requested from the partners. And a job.

Truth is, many lawyers are out of practice with introducing themselves. They may find themselves from time to time at events or in public places where they are open to meeting people, yet they must really work at introducing the type of work they do. Afraid of being a turn-off, they keep quiet about their profession.

Does this come from the fact that they so often get a bad rap from public perception? or from public perspective of their billable rates? Or is there a self-esteem issue with articulating their value?

In many cases, lawyers – those who don’t actively litigate – have been able to keep themselves in a safe space regarding client work. For the first 4 – 5 years all they need to do is stay visible and interested in partner cases, request involvement and do good work. This gets  them hours upon hours of piles of responsibility – enough to convince the individual lawyers to back off from networking, from business building and from being social with folks who may need them. For several years they have had no need to work ON their business. Only IN the business.

The people-focused lawyers are most at risk for the pitfalls of avoiding public introduction. If the day time has given them mega-people involvment in meetings, depositions, information-gathering or practice group work, by the end of the day they want little to do with people. Although this seems a contrast in their nature, what it really suggests is at day’s end, all they want is to go home and close off from the world. They are seeking a chance to rebuild their energy reserve.

Although good in the short term, it doesn’t allow the attorney to practice working ON the business – building relationship, getting comfortable talking about what they love doing, practicing sharing what is unique about their practice and their focus. Lawyers, like other business developers, do best when mixing time in both areas.

10-15% of lawyers’ time could be spent strategizing on their target market, developing their message, practicing it on people they already know who resemble their target market, creating lists of prospects and planning next steps with networking/public speaking/writing/and follow up.

This practice of working ON business is what keeps lawyers focused on their mission, their intention and what they love about their profession. It reminds them of their value while helping others keep them top of mind.

It doesn’t matter that the lawyer doesn’t like introducing themselves. What matters is how they handle it.

Quick tips in introducing yourself:
1. Just say your name, then ask others for theirs.
2. To start a conversation, try “What brings you here?” It’s a less-threatening question than “What do you do?” Since people generally mirror questions to each other in conversation, this allows you to answer in the less-threatening way as well, getting to know each other without knowing professions.
3. When asked what you do, put it this way: “I help ________(types of people/organizations)___________(benefit). For instance, my response is, “I help lawyers speak with confidence.”
3. Keep your response simple. No need to give full-page response. The simpler, the more curiosity you strike.

Get in practice introducing yourself. Want more guidance? Just contact me. I’ll help you plan, prepare and practice this! For even more useful hints on handling the introduction, click on this Psychology Today article Forgot my Name?

Share Button
On June 22nd, 2011, posted in: Uncategorized by