Phil Nugent speaks about online marketing at the Colorado Bar Association in Denver
There are endless challenges facing solo practitioners and small law firms in their quest to build thriving practices in these competitive times. Among the time-consuming and sometimes confusing challenges of running a business are those presented by the special demands of marketing and business development.
Even as the ever-increasing competition in the law demands that attorneys pay more attention to their marketing, many lawyers don’t know where to start. This may cause them to strike off in a particular direction without knowing whether that’s where they really should be spending their limited time and money.
To make the issue more difficult, there are many more marketing options than there were just a few years ago. In this case, “many more” means an order of magnitude more. Yes, choice is good, but too much choice can just lead to indecision and inaction. The dreaded “paralysis by analysis” syndrome is harmful because the more time that passes before a law firm makes a commitment to strategic marketing, the more difficult it will be to catch up with – let alone, surpass – one’s competitors in the legal marketplace.
Bono, an effective communicator on the global stage.
I read an article this week that provides invaluable advice for attorneys, but it’s guidance that’s heard – and heeded – far too seldom. In fact, it will strike some lawyers as counterintuitive and wholly inappropriate for the profession of law. Nonetheless, this wisdom needs to be shared: “Dumbing down” your communications can be a smart idea.
The source of the article was Entrepreneur.com, so it wasn’t written specifically for attorneys – or even with attorneys in mind. Yet, its main point is as pertinent to lawyers who are communicating with their clients as it is to the entrepreneurs that the writers had in mind. (Which raises another favorite issue of mine – that all attorneys should think of themselves as entrepreneurs – but I’ll save that for another time.)
Why Dumbing Down Your Message Isn’t Dumb
Entitled, “Why Dumbing Down Your Message Isn’t Dumb,” the article, written by media trainers Andy Craig and Dave Yewman, makes a valuable point about the importance of speaking and writing in a way that anyone and everyone can understand. I’d add that if you have a visceral, negative reaction to the idea of “dumbing down” anything you write or say (and I can understand that), you may want to define your goal as “communicating with clarity,” which is always a good thing. And just so there’s no confusion, I would suggest that you should communicate with client-centric clarity.