When an attorney is selected to speak at an event, the marketing department goes into action to make sure they are prepared. Are there any leftover tchotchkes in the marketing closet or should we order new ones? Can we get an attendee list? Will we be able to distribute the presentation and related materials afterwards?
What about when your attorney casually mentions that they will be out of the office at an event next week? It’s tempting to let that comment go by, and make a mental note that you shouldn’t expect them to reply to your emails that day. But when an attorney attends an event that includes potential clients and referral sources, such as an industry association meeting, it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t ignore.
Before the Event
- Do your Homework: Go to LinkedIn and Facebook, and do some Twitter searches to find out if there are any groups or hashtags related to the event. Use this information to find out about attendees and hot topics. Then brief your attorney on who is attending and what they are talking about. This information can also be used as an ice-breaker at the event, i.e. “It seems that a lot of people plan to attend the presentation on the impact of rising interest rates on the real estate industry – how will they affect your company?”
- Table for Two (or three or four): Your attorney should take heed of the networking advice to never eat alone. Encourage her to set up meetings, either one-on-one or group meetings, with like-minded people prior to arriving at the event. Most people are happy to see a friendly face after a day of seminars and networking with strangers, and it’s more likely to happen if plans are made in advance.
During the Event
- Join the Party: Many people feel awkward at large events with lots of new faces, and it can be hard to put yourself “out there.” Encourage your attorney to sit with groups of people who seem to be well-connected, and if the speaker is sitting alone, sit down and make an introduction. Your attorney’s time will be better spent if she is talking with industry leaders who can help facilitate connections than with newcomers or wallflowers.
- Tweet, Tweet!: While I shun multi-tasking, Twitter is an excellent way to share expertise and connect with people, if your attorney is up for the challenge. If he or she has a Twitter handle, they can follow the event hashtag to learn about the other attendees and what they consider important enough to tweet. While sitting in on conference sessions, they can live-tweet helpful information that the speakers are sharing. This will help them gain visibility among conference attendees and others interested in the topic. Also, should they want to write a blog post or other summary about the event afterwards, they can review their tweets to refresh themself on key information that was shared.
After the Event
- Is your attorney a good speaker? Chances are, they can tell you which topics weren’t on the conference agenda or didn’t get enough coverage. Make a note of these, and find out about the conference’s speaker selection process. Use what your attorney learned from attending the conference to position them as a speaker at next year’s conference.
By Aileen Hinsch, Knapp Marketing for the May/June 2014 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.