Random Wisdom

How to talk about what to do – finessing your personal introduction

I have heard it said that the quickest route to shutting down the conversation at a networking event is to introduce yourself as a lawyer.  Now while I am sure that is not always true, there are better ways of handling your personal introduction, and getting in the habit of introducing yourself in a way that provides some insight into what you do is a valuable business development skill to acquire.

I am lucky because as a business coach who works with lawyers my personal introduction is always a conversation starter.  At least half the time the immediate response from non-lawyers is “lawyers need coaches?!”  

Here is a quick guide to developing a personal introduction that will serve to keep the conversation going rather than shutting it down.

First, your personal introduction ideally should be short and to the point. The best introductions tell the person something interesting about what you do and make them curious to learn more.

To build your personal introduction follow these steps:

  1. Give your name and the name of your firm.
  2. Frame your introduction around the types of people you help – this should be targeted to the person you are speaking with when possible. 
  3. Describe the benefits of what you do – see examples below.
  4. End with a question to get the person you are meeting talking.  The objective is to get to know them and that requires asking questions and listening.

You can develop more than one introduction if you work in a number of different areas of practice.

I’ve listed a few examples for you to consider. Some you will like and some you won’t – that’s the way it works with personal introductions, they are personal and reflect your unique practice and approach.

Corporate finance lawyer – I help technology companies and other start-ups raise money for their projects. 

Tax lawyer – I assist business owners with implementing strategies for lowering their corporate and personal tax bills.

Insurance lawyer – I help insurance companies resolve claims from their clients ethically and in a manner that is fair to all concerned.

IP Solicitor – I help inventors and companies secure their intellectual property assets.

Commercial litigator – I help companies and business people when they get into disputes with one another. I work hard to make sure my client walks away with the best result possible.

Thanks to coach Sara Holtz for the ideas she posted on-line!

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at allison@shiftworks.ca or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.