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Speaking Engagements for Lawyers: yes or no?

August 4, 2011

For some lawyers, speaking engagements can potentially be a good strategy to include in legal marketing.  As you go out into the public — speaking to alumni groups, trade associations, networking organizations, conferences – – you build awareness of your brand. Never forget: you are your own brand.

Certainly, not all groups are worthwhile for all attorneys.

You do estate planning? An alumni group could be a wealth of new contacts for you. A tip: don’t immediately go to your local college alumni group. I live in Austin, Texas and the alumni groups for Rice University, Cornell University, and even M.I.T. are quite large.  Some people forget the out-of-town-school alumni groups.

You’re an IP attorney? That same M.I.T. alumni group has quarterly meetings for entrepreneurs who potentially could use an attorney a few months to a few years down the road as they lock in their designs and inventions.

You’re a corporate attorney? Same as above!  Potentially, almost everyone in a business networking environment is a potential client for an attorney who writes business contracts and the like.  So, it goes without saying, that those business networking events would be a great place to speak, as well!

You’re a divorce attorney? The local singles club. You think I’m kidding? Many “singles” are just not quite single yet. And let’s face it – many will divorce in the future, so why not have your name in their mind if that sad day comes along?

Another thing to remember: most industries have trade associations – you know that. Did you know that some trade associations get so specific that you can really target who you want to get in front of to an amazing degree? Obviously the Association of Corporate Counsel is a good choice to investigate.  The Association of Steel Manufacturers is another one that might not have rolled off your tongue.

The first thing you should know – don’t cast a wide net. Why not? Because you’re an attorney, not a sales person, and if you target 50 different groups or events (or even 25…..) you won’t possibly follow up with them, so why waste the time on the front end?

Here’s your assignment: take five.  Take five minutes and sit back and think “who is a potential target for my legal work?”  Write it down. (yes, now).  Since that probably only took 90 seconds, you have a few minutes to think up a few other types of clients. Go ahead; do it!  Now take another 5 minutes and think about organizations, or clubs, or other entities where those types of people might just be hanging out.  I only want you to write down FIVE!  You’re on your way to creating a “speaker target list” for contacting, later. (oh, wait – that might have scared you, huh? Ignore the phrase “for contacting, later.”  Don’t want you to chicken out before you start.)

Now, hand the list to your secretary and say “please research contacts in these organizations for me, would you? I’m going to try to get a few public speaking gigs to build my business.”  Now – you’re doing this for more than one reason.  You’re busy, chances are your assistant is not (oh, please, you know they read magazines and post on Facebook from work!).  Secondly, you probably won’t actually DO this part of the assignment. And third: now that someone else knows you are thinking about doing this, you’ll have some accountability.

When she gives you the list of contacts, it’s time for the fun part!

[see the next blog post]

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From → Legal Marketing

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