By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.
The start of summer not only means school closings and pool openings; in some states it also signals that the deadline for accumulation of mandatory continuing legal education hours is fast approaching.
There are two different ways to look at seminars and conferences: as an obligation or as an opportunity.
People who view CLE as an obligation likely take the easy approach, coming in just before the first session starts, sneaking out of the lecture to handle a few phone calls from the office and then leaving the seminar as quickly as possible.
But others see seminars and conferences as legal marketing and referral opportunities. One of the best ways to make the most of these opportunities is to plan ahead, developing a strategy and setting concrete goals for connecting with others in a way that fits your own personality type.
Here are seven quick tips to help turn your next seminar into a referral marketing opportunity:
- Make sure you have plenty of business cards before setting off for the seminar, and be sure to keep them in someplace easily accessible.
- Introduce yourself to the people seated next to you. If you’re feeling really ambitious, introduce yourself to the two people seated to the left and the two people seated to the right.
- If you find a session informative, thank the lecturer personally after he or she has finished the presentation. The speaker has put in a lot of time preparing, and a thank-you is always appreciated.
- Seek out the lawyers you know. Update them on your practice and don’t forget to introduce attorneys you already know but who don’t know each other.
- Networking works best when it’s a two-way street. Don’t just tell people about your practice; ask about theirs.
- When you sign in for the seminar or conference, ask whether there are opportunities to moderate or lecture at future CLEs and obtain the appropriate contact information.
- If the conference includes exhibitors, stop by the booths. In addition to learning about services that might be of use to you in your practice, you can take the opportunity to explain the type of law that you practice.
Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference
One of the biggest bar conferences in Missouri, the Solo and Small Firm Conference, will be held this week at the Lake of the Ozarks. In addition to earning my CLE hours I’ll be blogging and tweeting from the conference, using the hashtag #MoSASF.
If you’re attending the conference — or any other legal seminar — and have networking tips, share your thoughts in our comment section, send me an e-mail or tweet your tip to @legalmediamtrs.
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