When you respond to the question “What do you do?” don’t answer with “I’m am a lawyer” or “I practice law.” BOOOORRRing, not to mention a turnoff. If that is what you were thinking, it’s time to develop an elevator speech that is far more interesting. And I’ve addressed that topic in a couple of earlier posts: “What Message Does Your Elevator Speech Convey?” and “More Elevator Talk.”
But, what I want to specifically address today, is what to say after the conversation has moved beyond the introductory "elevator" phase. This is when some lawyers have a tendency to talk about their credentials, and what successes they’ve had. Nothing wrong with that, but HOW you get that message across makes a big difference. Rather than just recite your background, tell stories about the clients you have helped.
This is what my friend Larry Smith and Richard Levick recommend in 365 Marketing Mediations: Daily Lessons for Marketing & Communications Professionals. Their advice:
“Make your points by telling stories. They explain how things get done. A marketing war story demonstrates value by showing what marketing can do.”
And a legal “war” story, can show what your legal expertise could do for the client. And getting the point across of how the client benefited, instead of how great your efforts were, will go over much better. After all it is about the client. It sure beats the heck out of a boring recitation of how good you are.