As many of my friends know, I am coaching Quebec and Montreal lawyers. As a result, I am trying to learn French. One of the Montreal lawyers I am coaching sends Nancy and me her French word of the day. Nancy and I are taking French I at Collin County Community College each Saturday morning.  It is the first class I have taken since law school and I admit it is challenging.

We are using the well known course materials: French in Action. It is the language course developed by Yale professor Pierre Capretz. Nancy and I watch the video, review the textbook and use the workbook. I try to watch the video story of the two main characters Mireille and Robert, whenever I have time.

Yesterday I read: How to Learn A Language in 90 Days. It was very helpful. The essence is that you cannot really learn to speak a language just taking a class, out of a book or using Rosetta Stone. If you want to learn to speak a language you have to practice speaking. Here is the list of suggestions:

  1. Get the right resources for learning
  2. Get a private tutor
  3. Attempt to speak and think only in the new language
  4. Find friends, language partners, and other speakers of the language

Isn’t this exactly the way to learn client development? First, get the right resources. I have free eBooks that will help you. Second, find a coach. Third each and every day, think about client development and do something to move forward. Finally, get a group of colleagues and friends to work with you.

I urge you to form your own client development group. Consider meeting once a month at breakfast or lunch. It will be as important for you to actively participate in your group activities, just as it is important for Nancy and me to go to the French class. Because you are sharing what you have done with your group, you will far more likely keep up your client development efforts than if you were just doing it on their own.

Your monthly meetings will be a chance to collaborate and brainstorm ideas. Just like our French class, someone needs to lead the meeting and there needs to be an agenda that will benefit participants. I actually think having two people lead the meeting is  most effective. Share what you are doing and how it is working for you. Share the challenges you are facing and come up with solutions. Turn your iPhone off and focus for that one hour a month on learning and brainstorming.