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LP Magazine – Replacing Face-to-Face in Business Development

LPcover_MarchApril2021-231x300Earlier this week, I read an interesting article about how business travel will never fully return, because you can just go on Zoom, saving a ton of time and money. The story and premise all made sense until a quote at the end saying that the first time someone lost a sales pitch to a competitor that presented in-person—they’ll be right back on those airplanes. And I shook my head knowing that was so true.

Zoom fatigue is very real. Many of us have slowly chopped down on screen time whenever possible. However, when you really think, imagine life without it the last year? At least we see each other’s faces. What if the whole year was just thousands of hours of faceless conference calls?

Most of my phone and videoconferencing meetings with attorneys and law firms these last 13 months or so have revolved around the topic of my marketing column in the March/April 2021 issue of Law Practice, Replacing Face-to-Face in Business Development. While the subject of virtual online meetings is already old and stale (if you have not figured it out by now, nobody can help you), unfortunately we are still living a life of staying relevant and visible without the fun part of business networking—lunches, conferences, social outings—all those things that in the end really seal the deal for new business, winning business, referrals and references. I hope this column is soon very outdated (I’d like it to be laughable), but the timeline I give out about resuming face-to-face is a moving needle. So we still need to approach much of 2021 like we did most of 2020. Having said that, I’m scheduled to get dose one of the vaccine this week—and with it you start to think a little more wide-eyed about the people you can see and the places you can go. My calendar now shows some very possible business and conference travel in Q4. You can only hope.

I had the privilege of working with Dallas, Texas attorney Patrick Wright as co-issue editors of the annual Marketing issue of the ABA’s Law Practice magazine. Being a Philly guy, I don’t usually say nice things about Dallas. But we had a good time coming up with some inspiring topics that we thought would be solid, first-hand success stories attorneys and law firms could really relate to. In Practicing with Twitter: An Immigration Lawyer’s Social Media Journey, two of my favorite people in the profession—Greg Siskind, interviewed by Nick Gaffney, show you not only how Twitter can be a huge marketing tool, but do-good at the same time as well. In continuing with the benefits of doing good, Wine to Water: Connecting your firm to your cause by Mike Nestor of Young Conaway takes you into an initiative that traveled from Wilmington, Delaware to Nepal. In First-Year Focus in a Pandemic, the former director of both the ABA’s Young Lawyer Division and ABA CLE, Jill McCall, writes on keeping associates engaged with professional development in the COVID era. Now perhaps what we envisioned as the cover story and one of the most poignant marketing topics of the last year–How Can the Legal Sector Have a More Meaningful Conversation About Race?—may have been a little too controversial for some to swallow, but not for Law Practice Today, where the article ran in full this past December. From a marketing communications standpoint, little was more difficult for PR and marketing professionals than having those conversations. I think that simply debating the subject matter and content goes to the heart of the sensitives involved. So catch it in LPT if you missed it.

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