Mid-Atlantic Region Conference Program Review: Communicating in the Moment

The inaugural LMA Mid-Atlantic Region Conference presented attendees with a variety of wonderful panels and other presentations. Among them was one titled “Communicating in the Moment.” During this brief but dynamic presentation, Adam Severson, Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer at Baker Donelson, examined ways legal marketers could improve how they communicate with their own clients – their firms’ lawyers.

The presentation itself was only 15 minutes long, which seemed to fit one of Severson’s initial points: legal marketers have, on average, 60-90 seconds to interact with their clients. It’s also possible, according to the speaker, to have between 10-30 such interactions daily. Thus, marketers need to take advantage of such interactions. But how?

The presentation elaborated on ways to make marketer-lawyer interactions more efficient by examining one of the fastest methods of communication – email. If email is to be forwarded, the speaker opined, it must first be cleaned up. Before being too quick to send, one must slow down long enough to consider whether or not the information being sent is indeed relevant to the lawyer’s needs, wants and expectations. Also, the subject line of the email must likewise be relevant and on topic.

In addition, Severson addressed the need to slow down by explaining the need to ask clarifying questions to lawyers. If these questions aren’t asked, then one runs the risk of mismanaging expectations. The presentation also examined how, sometimes in communicating, coordination between various firm departments becomes forced. Severson elaborated that there may be a need to get firm leadership involved if the lawyer(s) requesting help is insistent on connecting unrelated departments.

Overall, the presentation articulated how important it is to be mindful of others’ time and priorities. In this respect, it’s crucial for legal marketers to ask questions of the lawyers and their marketing colleagues. The speaker said it is OK to ask colleagues about their availability, in addition to asking any other pertinent questions in the name of managing expectations.

Severson concluded by encouraging the audience to consider the differences between communicating in the moment versus establishing credibility. The point, the speaker argued, is to be intentional about one’s communication to do the latter.

By Adam Hopkins, Marketing Communications Specialist, Miller & Chevalier Chartered, for the Fourth Quarter 2018 LMA Mid-Atlantic Region Newsletter

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