Since March, most of us have been getting a crash course in how to use Zoom (or other virtual platforms). In some ways, Zoom is really just another phone call and most lawyers are very accustomed to speaking on conference calls. But Zoom has its own nuances and as many of us are learning, there are pluses and minuses of being able to connect visually from a distance. In the latest episode of the Counsel to Counsel podcast, I speak with Charlotte Dietz, Founder of Speak Well Partners. Charlotte is a talented communications and public speaking coach and business story strategist. She shares some great insights into how we can all do a better job communicating in a virtual environment.
Many of us are spending hours a day on Zoom. While Zoom has been a great tool at a time when we can’t meet in person, most of us are experiencing at least some level of Zoom fatigue.
There are many reasons for this and a lot has been written on the subject (e.g. while Zoom is a visual medium, it is much harder to read body language on a screen; looking at a screen is hard on the eyes; having conversations on your computer can be distracting as alerts pop up in front of you; if you are with a group, you can’t keep multiple people in your peripheral vision while you focus on the person who is speaking; if you want the other person to think you are making eye contact, you have to look at your camera and not into their eyes).
One thing that is very distracting about Zoom is that most of us can see our own image on our screen. While this can initially provide us with useful information about what the other person is seeing (Are we properly lit? Is our face large enough on the screen? Have we minimized the distractions in the background? Are we having a bad hair day?), it also creates an element of stress that doesn’t exist in the “real world”.
I recently listened to a great episode of my favorite podcast, Stay Tuned With Preet (see May 16-D.C. Dramas & Advising Obamas). Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of Preet Bharara, a rational voice who provides insightful commentary on the law, politics and the Trump administration.
In this episode, Preet interviews Valerie Jarrett a former senior advisor to President Obama. She has just released a memoir called Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward and she is on the book tour. While she spoke a lot about Chicago politics, Barack Obama’s rise and her own career from biglaw to public service, a lot of what she had to say is relevant to legal marketing. Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:
If you are invited to be a guest on a podcast:
- Limit your use of words or verbal fillers on this list.
- Avoid using combinations of these words.
- Understand that podcasts are not live and can be edited after the fact.
- If you feel compelled to say one of these words while pausing to think, try breathing instead.
If marketing is important to your professional success, then you know the drill. Other professionals are hard to reach. You want to connect with potential referral sources. You want to build your relationships with current and past clients. You know how important it is to take the time to have coffee with individuals in your network. But if you are like me, you also know that no one answers their phone and email messages often go unanswered.
Good marketing involves good story telling. This is true whether you are marketing yourself as a candidate for a new job, marketing your company to a prospective hire or marketing yourself as a professional looking to generate new business.
Telling a “good” story is not always easy for analytical professionals. Lawyers, for example, are accustomed to “documenting” and being “thorough”. But good storytelling is not about being thorough. If you want to craft a good story, one that will make your point and one that will be memorable, it is important to be selective. Give the details which make your point. Avoid the facts which dilute or potentially contradict the message. It’s okay to be selective as long as you don’t distort the truth.
“BCC” is a useful e-mail tool. When you want to make sure that a group of individuals is kept in the loop about an event, a meeting, or a piece of information “bcc” is a way to get out your message without everyone having to see a long list of recipients. And sometimes, it is … Read more