1900 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067-4303
Mediation Tips - Business Development
Shaking Hands - A Tutorial
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Along with good grooming and a nice smile, shaking hands is a key component of a good first impression. It projects your confidence, friendliness and accessibility. Below are handshaking do’s and don'ts.
1. Extend your right hand with the thumb up.
2. Allow your hand the move up so the web between your respective thumbs and index finger meet.
3. Grip firmly and pump once or twice while making eye contact and exchanging a pleasantry, such as, "Great to see you this evening."
4. Release your grip after 2 to 5 seconds while continuing small talk.
1. Bone crusher. Do not use extra pressure. It says you are trying to dominate, are inconsiderate and hurts the other person.
3. Damp hand. Avoid a damp hand by holding your drink in your left hand. If you have sweaty palms, give your hand a quick, unobtrusive wipe on your pants or skirt when you see a handshake coming.
The One-One-One Rule
All successful lawyers in the "new normal" must learn to develop business. The goal is to create and maintain mutually beneficial relationships. The secret is simple: One-One-One.
When the conversation turns to you, have your "elevator speech" ready. An "elevator speech," named for the time it takes to ride a few floors, is a short statement about what you do and why it is valuable to the person hearing it, e.g., "I litigate business and intellectual property cases, helping our clients collect money they’re owed and protect their brands."
The Elevator Speech/Pitch
Last month we talked about the elevator speech as a quick conversation starter at an event or on the phone. Here are the elements and details to work up an effective elevator pitch that will open a conversation and make you more memorable.
1. Identify your goal. Make contact with clients and referral sources. Get them to ask, "Tell me more."
2. Explain what you do. "We litigate real estate matters for developers." Or "I specialize in suing/defending insurance companies in life, health and disability cases."
3. Communicate your value proposition. Why should someone hire you? What makes you unique? How can you help them? Think about price, availability, assets, results and experience. "We are the largest firm in our specialty.” “Our small size allows us to make attractive, alternate fee arrangements."
4. Engage a question. You want to keep the conversation going. "Tell me about your practice." "Has your firm tried alternative fee arrangements?"
5. Put it all together. "We litigate real estate matters for developers. Our small size allows us to make attractive alternate fee arrangements. Tell me about your practice" NB: Always have a business card ready. The best way to have someone ask you for a card is to ask for theirs first.
6. Practice. Practice in front of a mirror or with a colleague. Without practice, you will speak too fast or sound unnatural. You want to generate interest and inquiry. Your enthusiasm for your practice is contagious.
Mastering the Art of Small Talk
Just in time for the holiday season, we take a look at mastering the art of small talk. Small talk is the social grease that keeps new, delicate and/or uncomfortable situations moving. It opens doors and builds rapport with strangers, relatives and friends. Below are 10 tips to make you a comfortable, proficient small talker.
Invert the Problem
The 19th Century mathematician, Carl Jacobi said, "Invert, always invert." Charlie Munger of Munger Tolles and Berkshire Hathaway, updated the thought, "...it is the nature of things that many hard problems are best solved when they are addressed backwards."
Historically, lawyers are reluctant networkers. They are uncomfortable, feel manipulative and inauthentic. These common feelings come from the premise that networking is about advancing our own interests at others’ expense.
Make no mistake, networking is good for business. You meet new clients at trade shows, learn about opportunities at Bar events and broaden contacts at social functions.
The key to successful networking is forming mutually beneficial relationships, i.e., "I'm here to help you achieve your goals, not exploit you to achieve mine." Be prepared at your next networking opportunity with these three tools.
1. After introductions, ask the other person open-ended questions that start with "what, how or tell me."
2. Listen to the answers, don't just wait for your turn to talk. You learn much more with your ears open and your mouth shut.
3. When asked what you do, have a short "elevator speech" ready to keep the conversation going.
People wonder why they do not influence a meeting's decision-making process. The answer might be as simple as, they missed the "meeting before the meeting."