If it only came in legal size:
Found on Apartment Therapy.
If it only came in legal size:
Found on Apartment Therapy.
This Thursday (April 2, 2009), I'll be leading the second annual Unofficial Techshow Pub Crawl at ABA's Tecshow. We took a year off last year, but are back in 2009.
We'll meet up at the Hilton Chicago Lobby at 8 and head out for a few beers at 3-4 bars in the neighborhood. Expect a great time, good fellowship and a hangover Friday morning.
UPDATE: Here's the "agenda" for our evening:
Here's the map:
If you want to join the group early, many of us will be convening at a Tweetup here.
For real-time Twitter updates from the Crawl, you can follow me (@matthomann), or follow the Unofficial Techshow Pub Crawl hashtag (#utspc).
See you in Chicago!
With the ABA’s Techshow and the LMA Annual Conference kicking off in tandem this week, I thought it was a good time to revisit a list I did a few years ago about attending conferences. Here are my Ten Rules for Conference Attendees:
1. The amount of preparation you do before the conference is directly proportional to the benefits you’ll receive after it.
2. Never attend a conference without at least three questions you want answered. Never leave until they have been.
3. Your ability to pay attention to conference speakers and attendees is inversely proportional to your ability to pay attention to the outside world. If you can’t leave the real world behind for an hour or two, please don’t leave it at all.
4. The most important people at the conference are sitting next to you. They are like you. They can help you. Ignore them at your peril.
5. Vendors know your industry and the other attendees better than you do. Talk with them. Learn from them. Then take a few pens.
6. A conference rolls thousands of first impressions into a three-day period. Be kind, listen well, don’t dress like a slob, and pick up the tab every once in a while.
7. Don’t go to a conference until you can answer — in less than 5 seconds — the question, “What do you do?”
8. Don’t tell someone you’ll follow up unless you intend to. Breaking the first promise you make to someone makes them believe you’ll break others, too.
9. The only thing you need at most conferences is an exhibit hall pass. The true value of the event is in the conversations and not the presentations. Forget the sessions, hang out in the hallway (and the bar) and listen. A lot.
10. Knowing someone online is not the same as knowing them in person. Don’t assume that someone you follow on Twitter, friended on Facebook and linked to on LinkedIn knows who the hell you are. Introduce yourself as if you’re a stranger, make friends the old fashioned way and your relationship will be stronger as a result.
You can read the rest of my 10 Rules Posts here. I’ll see you at the next event!
Whether it is the economy, location, dates or some combination of the three, I’ve had to cancel LexThink Innovate. With just over a week to go, there just weren’t enough people committed to the event for me to deliver the experience I’d promised.
I’m still going to work with the attendees who choose to come to St. Louis, and I’ll have more details tomorrow. Thanks!
Another fun “Rule of Thumb” that sounds about right, even with no empirical proof:
Every time you mess up, your boss will remember it as three times that number. If the total number of actual mess-ups is greater than 3, your boss will remember it as “always.”
Works for clients, too!
Here’s a quick and cool idea from a Smashing Magazine post on building a perfect portfolio website: Tell your customers how to pronounce your name. Here’s a snippet from designer Chikezie Ejiasi’s site:
If you’ve got a hard-to-pronounce name, tell web visitors how to pronounce it. You’ll make it a lot easier for them to ask for you by name. I’d think about doing this with business cards, too.
If you’re designing a law-firm website, you can do a lot worse than to check out the rest of the article for lots more great ideas.
Afraid to try something new in your business, figuring that if it really worked, everybody else would already be doing it? Think again! Here's a re-imagining of the lowly paper clip (from picocool):
Now, what's stopping you from thinking differently about your practice?
One of my favorite lists of the year is Harvard Business Review’s Breakthrough Ideas for 2009. As always, the entire list is worth a read, but the one that caught my eye is one labeled The IKEA effect, which suggests that people are willing to pay more for things they had a hand in creating:
When people construct products themselves, from bookshelves to Build-a-Bears, they come to overvalue their (often poorly made) creations. We call this phenomenon the IKEA effect, in honor of the wildly successful Swedish manufacturer whose products typically arrive with some assembly required.
In one of our studies we asked people to fold origami and then to bid on their own creations along with other people’s. They were consistently willing to pay more for their own origami. In fact, they were so enamored of their amateurish creations that they valued them as highly as origami made by experts.
What does this mean for professional service providers? Instead of defaulting to a “Let me handle that for you” position with clients, require them to actively participate in their case. By collaborating with them, and allowing them to make meaningful contributions to the work you (both) do, they’ll likely value your services more and be happier with the end result.
Quick, name your favorite customer service class from law school. Can’t do it? I’m not surprised. Most lawyers don’t learn much about client service in school, and the only class that touches upon service at all is Legal Ethics — which is kind of like teaching someone to ride a bike by showing them lots of bicycle accidents.
By delivering great service, you can delight your customers, increase their satisfaction (and reduce malpractice exposure), cut your marketing budget and turn your clients into your best salespeople. And because many of your peers believe something as simple as returning client calls is optional, the bar to delivering the best client service in your community is set pretty low.
Here then, are 10 simple “rules” to help you remember that it is your customers who keep you in business, and when you work to delight (instead of frustrate) them, you’ll both be successful.
1. Just because clients don’t expect great service from lawyers doesn’t excuse you from providing it.
2. Don’t assume you’re great at service because your current clients don’t leave. Many remain your clients because they fear their new lawyer will treat them just like you do.
3. It costs less to delight a client than it does to frustrate them. You pay to delight them once, but you pay for frustrating them forever.
4. It is also far cheaper to compete on service than it is on price, because there will always be someone far cheaper.
5. People tell others about service they receive, not competence they expect. Ever heard someone brag about how clean their dry cleaners get their clothes?
6. The time clients care about isn’t yours, it’s theirs. Build your practice to save them time and they’ll be less reluctant to pay you for yours.
7. Though you might be measured against your peers in a courtroom, when it comes to service, you’re measured against everyone. If your clients named the top ten places they get great service, would your business make the list? It should.
8. Eighty percent of your time should be spent on satisfying your clients’ expectations and twenty percent should be spent on exceeding them.
9. You can’t measure how you’re doing when you only ask how you’ve done. Improving client service begins with learning how to serve your current clients better.
10. If your clients can go months without hearing from you, they can go forever without recommending you. To lawyers, indifference and incompetence are two different things. To clients, they are one in the same.
If you’d like to see some more posts like this one, check out: Ten Rules of Rainmaking, Ten Tweets about Twitter, Ten Resolutions for the New Year, Ten Rules for Law Students, Ten Rules for the New Economy, Ten Rules for New Solos, Ten Rules of Legal Innovation, Ten Rules of Legal Technology, Ten Rules of Hourly Billing and Ten New Rules of Legal Marketing.
Also, if you’d like to see hundreds more ideas on creative ways to deliver great client service, check out all of the Client Service posts here on this blog.
Found this one over at Rules of Thumb. Replace Fiance with Client and Married with Retained:
If your fiance does something that bothers you before you’re married, it will bother you ten times more after you’re married.
One of the biggest barriers lawyers must overcome when contemplating alternative pricing models is understanding just how customers perceive the value lawyers provide.
One of the ways I've combated this in my consulting practice (and at LexThink Innovate) is I let customers set the price of the work I do — after it is done.
Below is a copy of my "You Decide Invoice" that I use for all my consulting work. The relevant provisions read:
YOU DECIDE: Your absolute satisfaction with LexThink isn’t just our goal, it’s the measure of our worth — and the determination of our fee. The rules are simple: you pay us what you feel we were worth to you. You decide, no questions asked. The only rule? We want to know why you paid what you did, and how we could have done better.
WHEN TO PAY: While we leave our fee in your hands, we can’t leave it there forever. Please send us your payment and feedback within 21 days after you get this invoice. Please send a copy of this along with your feedback and your payment. Thank you for your business.
On the second page (not shown), I ask for feedback from the customer:
Tell us, in as many words as you want, how we did. Think about your expectations, the result, and how it felt to work with us. Also, let us know if we can share your feedback with others — and if we can give you credit. Attach more sheets if you need to.
That's it. I explain to the customer before they engage me that they'll set my price, and then give them the invoice as soon as the engagement's done. So far, I've always received at least as much as I've expected — and most importantly, usually more than I would have charged if I'd set my price before beginning.
I also know that when I will ultimately receive less than I expect (or not get paid at all), it will tell me I need to learn lessons from the engagement, and improve my services (or be more selective with my clients) so it doesn't happen again.
What's keeping you from experimenting, and letting a few (trusted) customers name your price?
David Gulbransen writes another LexThink testimonial I wanted to share:
Matt Homann has posted 10 reasons why you should attend LexThink:Innovate in March. And while I can actually cook 2 ‘three minute’ eggs in less than six minutes, the LexThink conference format is both innovative and effective. Well worth the time, in my book. And Matt’s put his money where his mouth is with a “name your own price” guarantee. When was the last time you saw a conference do that??
The timing of the conference couldn’t be worse for me (work projects) but I’m still trying to find a way to go… you should, too.
Matt Homann is putting on another “unconference,” this time on March 29-30, 2009 in St. Louis. Called the LexThink: Innovate conference, it is a “Legal Innovation Event for attendees interested in creating their perfect law practice.” Think of it as getting a roomful of the brightest, most creative attorneys around, adding a few catalysts, stirring the pot and encouraging collaboration/discussion on how to build the PERFECT law practice.
I’ve been to two of his LexThink conferences before and hope I can make this one (but may not be able to due to the timing (with IgniteBoise and state high school mock trial competitions the week before…I’m going to be hurting for family time)).
The impact on me personally, in attending the two LexThink’s I did, was unreal. I literally left there, both times, with migraine headaches…my brain swimming with all sorts of new ideas for my practice and my life. What a tremendous value! When was the last time you lost sleep because your brain wouldn’t stop thinking of GOOD things. The conference resulted in a number of things I implemented…things that made a real difference.
If you can make it, I guarantee that it will be worth your time. You will walk away a better person, have great ideas to implement, and will meet new friends.
Now is the time to innovate in your law practice. Now is the time to think outside the box. Now is the time to seriously consider attending LexThink: Innovate.
I hope to see you there!