Earning a Seat at the Table, Part IVPosted: May 10, 2011
You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.
— Lee Iacocca
This is the fourth in a series of posts on how lawyers, inside and outside, can build credibility with their clients. Being a superb practitioner of law, while the foundation of getting a seat the table, will not, in and of itself, allow you to stay at the table. Effective attorneys focus on doing more, they focus on what I call the six Cs. The fourth is helping the team communicate.
We have all seen dense, acronym-ladened , Death by PowerPoint presentations similar to the one highlighted last year by the New York Times. I am convinced that good and even great ideas often fail to get the “green-light” at companies, not due to the quality of the idea, but due to the quality of the communication.
Attorneys are great communicators: we spend every day taking the hideously complex and making it simple and accessible. Effective attorneys use their well-honed communication skills to help their clients communicate more clearly about far more than legal issues and in many fora other than the courtroom. Strategies, analyses, products, performance, you name it, great lawyers can help improve how the business communicates it. And, if it is done respectfully, the internal clients will quickly see the value and come back time after time, because, in the end, it makes them look better.
At the risk of overstating this, a great lawyer can use their communication skills to set free the intellectual capital of the organization. Sounds like fun.