Personal impact to give your firm competitive advantage – the where and the what
If you read my article in Compass recently, you will have seen I explained why lawyers need more than technical skills and knowledge for their careers and so the firm performs well. I also highlighted five key skills that they need to focus on. This article will look at the first one – personal impact, in more depth.
Why having a positive personal impact matters
How we communicate ourselves and engage with others is pivotal to the relationships we build, especially in a services business such as a law firm when it is the people that make the difference. Technical knowledge and expertise are expected. When clients and prospective clients feel they like and trust people, they are more likely to do business with them, remain loyal (even if fees increase), and refer new clients.
Trust and credibility are particularly important as lawyers are often resolving complex (and often personal) challenges for clients, so they want someone that they can engage with and they feel will keep them up-to-date, as well as get them the outcome they want.
Most law firms can supply a raft of case studies with successful outcomes; it is how the people engage with clients that is the opportunity for real differentiation, even in business-to-business instances.
Where it makes a difference
Every professional scenario where your team encounters professional contacts needs to be considered – I call these ‘touchpoints’.
Some examples include:
Meetings – both in-person and virtually. Are your people showing up credibly both in how they come across and having something relevant to say?
Online – what does your website say about them? What do photos communicate about them and your firm? Are individual LinkedIn profiles professional and informative? No LinkedIn profile or a poor one doesn’t represent your firm well and now more than ever, online is your ‘shop window’.
Other communications – how are your team coming across by phone and email?
Networking events – are your team representing your firm well? Do they have the skills to engage with people as humans and build rapport so they start to build trust and the people they meet become interested in them and your firm?
What to consider to make your firm more competitive
The key ‘tools’ we all have to communicate ourselves are appearance, body language, and voice. These are a great starting point for people wanting to think about the impact they have on others and how they build relationships.
As much as we might not like it, perceptions are formed quickly so considering these elements is key.
- Appearance – is this professional and appropriate for the scenario and who your team are meeting?
- Body language – do your team use this effectively to communicate confidently and build rapport with others? Gestures, posture, and eye contact are just some of the essential considerations; even small tweaks can make a big difference.
- Voice – likewise do your team use this to good effect to build credibility and engage with people well? We have all met the person who is nothing like what their voice conveys…Volume, pace, and enunciation are three key elements.
The sooner people work on their personal impact the better as this is all about behavioural change (not trying to change people – working to make them the best they can be). The firms that perform best are those who have people who are technically great but who can also build great professional relationships. This starts with personal impact.
Do your people all have a positive personal impact? If not, in which situations could improvements be made? Which ‘tools’ need to be focused on to positively impact your firm’s performance and give you a competitive advantage? To read more on this area and the others mentioned in the Compass article, request the free Guide here.
Author: Joanna Gaudoin, Inside Out Image