A lawyer I coach asked me what was the most important client development skill I worked on to perfect. I did not hesitate, answering:

Presentation skills

I know I attracted more new clients by my presentations than any other thing I did. Why? When I was presenting, potential clients could easily evaluate my knowledge, my ability to make the complex simple and my personality. But, here is the most important point: I practiced presenting, over and over again. When video cameras first became available, I taped myself presenting.

Just suppose for the moment, that of all the lawyers practicing in your subject area, you were the top rated presenter. Suppose your client industry sought you out to present to their business members. Just suppose: Do you think that if you were considered the number 1 lawyer presenter in your field that clients would find you and hire you?

Clients don’t just show up on your doorstep. You must attract them. Are you practicing your client development skills? If so, you are in a very small minority. I practiced when I was a young lawyer and I would be practicing today. The very best speakers, even Steve Jobs practiced. I just recently enjoyed reading: Steve Jobs, Ashton Kutcher, And The 10,000 Hour Rule.

In addition to making presentations, what would I practice?

  1. Writing blog posts. Draft blog posts even if you do not have a live blog.
  2. Tweeting. Practice writing tweets, simply to learn how to write more concisely.
  3. Client meetings. Practice developing and asking questions for an initial client meeting.
  4. Networking. Practice asking questions and opening a conversation with a stranger.
  5. Client pitches. Practice presenting and responding to questions.

Is your law firm creating these opportunities for you to practice?