Presenting to your law firm’s board members can be quite daunting, as it’s an opportunity to showcase your knowledge and leadership qualities. However, you can impress them and earn their respect by following these simple tips.
Whether you need to offer your expertise on a legal issue, suggest a new direction for the law firm, or tell them about a new client with promising billable hours, context is key. Therefore, you absolutely must not start your proposal by addressing the political issues of the day or telling a few tasteless jokes.
Your law firm’s board members are its decision-making body, so follow these five tips to immediately impress them by doing it right:
Prepare to be brief
Your boss may tell you that you have half an hour to present your proposal, but note that the boards don’t meet often. They have so many things to discuss when they meet that a shorter strategy chat is usually the most appreciated. Imagine your panic if you prepared a 30 minute proposal, only to be told you have 10 minutes to present it.
If no time limit is mentioned, the board may appreciate you asking them how they prefer you to present – the entire proposal or its shorter form. Many councils prefer to receive the documents in advance to review them beforehand. If your board wants them sooner, make sure they get them at least four days before.
Therefore, come prepared with an excellent high-level proposal that takes no more than five minutes to tell. Be clear and concise and instead prepare answers to the questions they will ask you after your presentation. Being brief and organized is an important way to make a strong impression.
Create a compelling and interesting image
Use an elevator pitch or short statement at the beginning of your presentation to get your key message across. The ideal way to prepare a great idea is to use around 25 words to present your proposal and its benefits to the law firm. These words should spark immediate interest in your vision in a way that will be memorable and easy to repeat to others.
Don’t let interruptions get you down
Anticipate interruptions during your speech. Practice your address by learning key phrases, so if someone interrupts you with a question, you can answer it and quickly find where you left off. Always answer someone directly with a clear, concise question.
If you’re not sure of the answer to a question, don’t pretend or get defensive. Instead, tell the board that you’ll have the question answered soon after the meeting.
Understand the history of the law firm
Research is an essential part of your legal career, so be sure to do your due diligence before pitching your idea to board members. Know the history of your law firm, learn about the members of the board of directors and research all the current trends in the legal sector. This information can help you personalize your presentation, ensuring that your proposal does not conflict with the interests of the firm or any board member. Also, avoid making the mistake of presenting information that is already common knowledge in the company. You’ll bore everyone to the point where they’ll switch off, wasting everyone’s time.
Make the perfect presentation and start
You don’t need to memorize the entire presentation; otherwise, it will sound forced. Instead, practice it out loud and memorize just a few key phrases to sound confident and competent during your presentation. You can also record your workouts to see areas you need to improve. The better you prepare for the board presentation, the less anxious you will feel. When you present yourself confidently, you make a better impression than if you appear nervous.
Also, during the presentation, you must clearly state the options, both at the beginning and at the end, to facilitate the decisions required. Finally, don’t hover in the room once you’ve finished the presentation. Instead, thank the board and, unless told to wait, leave the room.
Impressing senior board members may seem complicated, but it’s less difficult than you feared if you follow the tips above. There are also some things you should never do when present to the council. These include complaining about waiting outside if the meeting is late, coming up with something other than your topic, and using common jargon or buzzwords. Finally, avoid prejudice and the dissemination of political opinions. These things will tarnish your presentation and your reputation, so avoid them if you want to impress.
Legal Scoops editor Jacob Maslow founded several online journals, including Daily Forex Report and Conservative Free Press.