Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Through a variety of circumstances, one of the circles that was run in during college was with a band of gypsies that found what they hoped to be their lives calling in comedy.

Every couple of weeks there would be an improv night at some old theater in Coconut Grove, Boca Raton, or Hollywood, where people would come for the cheap wine and interactive dance without a net that is the audience-performer experience. After which, I would sit and listen to the budding comedians debrief the performances.

A central tenet of improv is what is known as Yes...And. It takes whatever is thrown out at face value and builds from it.

The more outlandish and creative the better, as the debriefs would be critical of jokes that were obvious, gratuitously vulgar, or didn’t keep the act going.

Like in business conversations, the better the listening, the better the result. Have you ever had a conversation with someone that is waiting to talk, rather than actively listening? If you would only be quiet, they are about to drop some serious knowledge on you about just how knowledgeable that they are...

Two things make or break Yes...And, failing to release the creativity, innovation, and whether further engagement is possible. “No,” and something completely unrelated and not based on what the other gave you. They really wanted to get that zinger in regardless of the setup.

Yes..And may bridge the two topics, but does so through active listening and keeps the back and forth in alignment.

To paraphrase from Seinfeld, “You can take the reservation, but can you keep the reservation?’ Anyone can get someone’s attention, but can you keep someone’s attention?” Because, really that is the most important thing.

Attorneys receive some variation of waiting to talk emails every day from recruiters: Dear insert name. You are the perfect candidate for an AM Law top 100 firm in insert city. They are a fast growing firm with multiple insert either national or international offices and a dynamic practice. The firm is only looking for superstars with over insert how much portable business needed. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss this fantastic opportunity.

Chances are that if you do not know if you are the perfect candidate for that opportunity, neither do they.

The same can be said when you are trying to develop your client base. Are they the perfect client based on where they sit on the Fortune 500 list, type of sector that they are in, and where they have offices?

You can’t Google search what drives people. Why is someone a corporate attorney instead of a litigator? Have they had enough of big firms and are looking for something smaller? What about the practice of law is important to you? Is a successful move based on making more money, or is making more money a function of having a platform to reach your other goals with people that you enjoy working with?

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