Communication is at the heart of what legal marketers do. But how often do we take a step back to make sure we’re communicating effectively in all aspects of our work? In our May 26 Strategies LIVE webinar, Strategies authors Tahisha Fugate and Heather McCullough dove deep into the theme of the May/June issue of Strategies, exploring two components of communication: its role in client retention and in keeping yourself happy at work. The following are highlights from that conversation.
Fugate and McCullough on communicating in the law firm:
Fugate: It’s a challenge because there are so many personalities in a law firm. There are thousands of employees trying to make the business run smoothly, so it’s very important for each department and person to learn how to communicate clearly and to meet people where they are. If someone’s more responsive by email, make sure your emails are clear. If not, then make a phone call or meet them in their office. Be flexible.
McCullough: A lot of times it becomes an issue with our clients. Attorneys may want us to send things out by newsletter, but that might not be a vehicle our clients want to interact with. If we can be more aware of how people like to receive information, we’ll be far better at serving our clients down the road. You need to communicate before you communicate. One thing I like to do is ask clients how they prefer to receive communications.
McCullough on how to ensure your clients don’t “ghost” you, or suddenly cease all communications:
- Consider which clients may be on the verge, or have begun, ghosting you. If a client’s files are declining, this should be a red flag. Do they not have any matters to send you, or are you just not asking them? Have you been consistently communicating with them?
- Everyone should think through their client relationships and push their attorneys to have conversations with your clients so they don’t have the excuse of “well, they just don’t have any matters to send me.”
- If you’re not taking care of the relationships, it’s easy for the client to just go to someone else who is showing them love.
Fugate on setting boundaries for yourself at work:
- A lot of us work in fast-paced environments and are required to show up as our best every day so we need to do things that will allow us to do so.
- Taking care of yourself includes setting boundaries, fueling yourself and telling good things to yourself.
- Setting boundaries is not a perfect science. It requires flexibility and practice. But setting boundaries is important to your peace of mind and it creates structure. Things like scheduling your day, both personally and professionally, allows you to stay focused and benefits your professionalism.
- It’s never too late to set boundaries. You don’t want to burn out, because that comes out in your work product and in your communications to others.
Fugate and McCullough on their recommended resources:
Fugate: A book, “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
McCullough: A blog, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, by Eric Barker