Monthly Archives: July 2008

Advertise, and clean up!

Via Springwise:

GreenGraffiti creates advertising on dirty city streets and walls using the clean, green power of plain water. Armed with just a template and a high-pressure water sprayer, the company has “cleaned” advertising messages out of the dirt on behalf of clients including Elle, Telfort and Universal Music. No paper, no ink, no printing process—GreenGraffiti’s ads are completely carbon-neutral, it says. They last up to six months, depending on foot traffic, and cost a fraction of the price of traditional outdoor media, the company asserts.

If you are looking to do some advertising, this could be a clean (and fun) way to go. Just make sure they find enough room in the stencil for your disclaimer!

Lessons learned. Mostly the hard way.

Just entered a presentation to SlideShare’s World’s Best Presentation Contest that I’ve been noodling around with for a while.  It uses pictures of my daughter, and is titled, "If I’d only known then ….  Lessons learned.  Mostly the hard way."  Check it out, and give it a vote if you like it.

Take Your Customers to Work?

In the her Nature his Nurture blog, Sean Hazell suggests having a “Take your customer to work day.” Here’s how it’d work:

- Invite your customer into your workplace to shadow an employee; parties are encouraged to sign up and then paired.

- Open your office, back-shop, or factory doors for the day to give your customers a behind the scenes glimpse of your working environment.

- Your employees represent your brand for the day.

- Customers see for themselves what truly makes your company special.

Still trying to figure out just how this could work with lawyers (client confidentiality and all that), but would it be impossible to have a “take your clients to court day” once a month to give clients with upcoming court dates a stress-free preview of their day a the courthouse? They’d get a chance to know where to meet, where to park, how to get through security, etc. I did this once with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy client (she accompanied me when we filed) and she was much more comfortable during her hearing than everyone else around her.

And, if you can’t bring them in person, do you at least have pictures of what these places look like that you can share with them before they go?

Still Not LinkedIn?

If you’re not using LinkedIn (or not using it enough), check out this Common Craft video that explains what LinkedIn does and why it matters.

Napkin Thinking for Your Practice

One thing I learned working for XPLANE, is that everyone (not just artists) can use simple visual tools to think better about almost anything. If you’d like to incorporate more visual thinking into your practicef (and communicate better with your clients), check out Dan Roam’s The Back of the Napkin. It is a great book, and if you want an intro, I highly recommend downloading the Visual Thinking Toolkit (pdf), which was just posted this week.

How To Do Almost Anything

Dumb Little Man has a roundup of 15 Tutorial Websites that can teach you almost anything. Next time you (or someone you know) needs help with something, give a few of these sites a try.

A Great Traveler’s Tip: Let Me Give You a Clue

Gretchen Rubin at The Happiness Project shares a great tip for traveling parents:

A friend of mine has a great tradition when she and her husband travel away from their children.

Like many people, she brings her kids little presents from trips, but instead of just handing them over upon her return, she makes sure to pick the presents early in the trip, then allows her children to ask for clues. Each child gets one clue per day, and they have tremendous fun coming up with the questions, coordinating with each other about who will ask what, keeping a list of the clues that have been revealed, debating amongst themselves, etc.

She says that the gift itself brings them much less fun than the guessing game.

As someone who’s on the road a lot, I absolutely love this idea. Not sure it would work for clients awaiting your trip back from court.

Your Customers Don’t Want to Need You

I’ve been doing a lot of speaking lately, and have been revamping my presentation quite a bit to focus on just a few key themes. I’m going to share a few of them in the blog, and would love your feedback. Right now, I’m organizing my talks around a series of truths or “new rules.”

Here’s the first:

Your clients need you less than you need them. They don’t want to need you at all, and they’re willing to pay for the privilege.

Zen Your Way Out of Bad Meetings

Conflict Zen has become one of my “must reads” lately. Author Tammy Lenski shares Seven Simple Hacks Guaranteed to Improve Your Meetings that collects several of her posts on conflict resolution in groups. I’d recommend her tips to any lawyer who meets with clients regularly, especially this one:

Have you ever been in a meeting where the chair asked something like, “Does that plan sound ok to everyone?” Perhaps there was a brief pause, an assenting remark or two, a couple of nods and silence from the rest. “All right, then it’s a go,” the chair may have said then.

Silence does not mean “Yes, I agree.” Silence can mean: I’m still thinking about it. I may agree but am not sure yet. Yes, I agree. No, I don’t agree but I’m not going to say it out loud here. No, I don’t agree but I’ll never admit to it.

If you’re trying to make a wise and effective decision in a group, avoid the “assumed yes” trap. When there’s silence, ask those folks what their silence means. Don’t challenge, invite.

Silence usually means I’m thinking.

Retreat with Me

About a month ago, I had the great pleasure of working with the Subrogation Group of Cozen O’Connor to help them design and facilitate their portion of a firm-wide retreat in Orlando, Florida. Paul Bartolacci, a fantastic attorney and great guy, just sent this testimonial I thought I’d share:

“We worked with Matt to plan and present a half day involving approximately 100 lawyers from a specific department within our firm. We were looking for something a bit different than the traditional law firm retreat program — upbeat and innovative, while at the same time useful and giving us a strategy to move forward. Matt was perfect. He took the time to listen to what we wanted to achieve and understood our goals. He spent extra time with us before the event to really get to know us as a group and what our practice involved.

Matt delivered a speech that was creative and pointed us towards new ideas and a different way to view and analyze problems. Our activities were fast paced and interactive, yet produced concrete goals and results. In short, he “got it”.

This was the last session of a 3 day retreat and people left feeling very positive and focused. Following our session many members of the group commented that this had been the best session of any of the numerous retreats they attended. I would certainly recommend Matt for any law firm retreat and look forward to working with him again.”

If you are looking for a speaker or someone to help you squeeze a bit more fun, creativity and focused results out of your legal event or retreat, give me a call. I’d love to help.

What’s your practice plan?

Michael Hyatt shares the importance of having a “Life Plan.” He talks about why it is important, and openly shares quite a bit of his own. Under the “My Colleagues” category of his plan, Michael writes:

I want my colleagues to remember my servant-leadership, my integrity, my humility, and my commitment to having fun. I want them to remember how much they learned and grew as a result of knowing me. Most of all, I want them to remember how I empowered them to accomplish far more than they ever thought possible.

When you read his post, think about the things you’d include in a Life Plan for your practice. The quote above would be a great start for the “My Clients” section. Give it a try.