So You Want to Run the Client Meeting (Part 2) | Jerome Shore

So You Want to Run the Client Meeting (Part 2) | Jerome Shore

15 January, 2020

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]So You Want to Run the Client Meeting [part 2]
Jerome Shore
This is the second part of an article aimed at associates in law firms who want to break out from behind partners at client meetings and instead manage the meetings on their own. In Part 1 we covered Body Language and Building Rapport.
Real listening skills. Imagine if you had an audience with the Pope.  Would you ask a question and then jump in while he was answering you?  No, not at all.  You would respectfully wait for the answer.
For a couple of reasons lawyers tend to be impatient listeners. Often they’ve heard it all before and don’t want to delay providing a client the answer, so they jump in without giving the client a chance to finish. What’s needed is patience. Listening is part of the service. A second reason is that lawyers charge a lot and subconsciously don’t want to be charging for the client talking. So they jump in in a way that’s not good for building trust, rapport and gathering necessary information.
The more you use curious information gathering to build rapport, the more likely it is that your client will trust you. One good thought is to listen to learn. The technique is to ask a question and then deliberately pause to wait for an answer. This sign of respect builds feelings of safety and trust and is the essence of listening to learn rather than listening to win or fix.
Once the person you’re talking to has answered your curious question, listening to learn starts with finding something to agree on in order to validate that you have been listening. This builds trust. It takes confidence to do this. And it shows confidence when you do it, which begets trust.
So with that trust you have a better chance to make the points that will help you get to win-win, or problem solved. Listening to learn primes the pump for your input.
By acting as if you don’t have an answer and are waiting for input from the client you’ll listen better, build trust, gain more information and still have the chance to deliver your points that will get the outcome you want. That’s a confident approach.
Act on Purpose: The opposite of acting on purpose is acting without a goal or a plan, or any thought. This kind of behaviour generates a lack of confidence. Experienced lawyers who’ve been through many client meetings will easily act on purpose. Their experience helps them  know what each meeting should accomplish and how they have to improvise  when things look like they are going off the rails.
You have the ability to improvise when it’s your twentieth rodeo, that is when you’ve done it many times. At first, unless you have thought through a meeting, its objectives and your strategy, in advance, you’ll essentially be “making it up as you go along.”  That doesn’t work except to provide you with a usually painful experience. You need the rodeos.
To this end I advise my clients to do a potential problem analysis in advance of meetings. That is to think about what might go wrong and what you would do if it does. A surgeon once described this as tying up all the bleeders i.e. to  take precautions to prevent unexpected bleeding during the surgery. Same with meetings. Ask yourself what could go wrong. Answer those potential problems in advance of the meeting.
So, those are hints on Listening and Acting on Purpose. In Part 1 of this article we covered  Body Language and Building Rapport and in Part 3, coming soon, we will cover Using Constructive Discontent and Dialing in Your Ego.
Jerome Shore is an Executive Coach in Toronto, Canada. Clients to look to Jerome for help with Marketing, Leadership and Stress Management. He can be reached at or 1-416-787-5555.
Tessa Desatnik is a communication coach and Director with the Circle & Square practice of the Farber Group. She can be reached at or 1-416-704-3884[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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