Archive for the ‘ Event Planning & Management ’ Category

Is live-Tweeting overrated?

Is live-Tweeting overrated?

That’s the question my friend Ben Greenzweig, Momentum Event Group, asked the LME group this morning. And, with multiple people live-tweeting the same sessions at a conference, I can understand why he’s raised the question.

Not too shockingly, many of us have an opinion, and a conversation has begun so head over to the Facebook group to participate fully.

I think many people look at Twitter as a disruptor or distracting from the speaker, as opposed to a tool. They find it rude that someone is tap, tap, tapping away and not listening.

I’ll argue that those people 1) have never tried it, and 2) are not following the conversations on Twitter.

So what are those of us who live-tweet getting out of it?

LMA president Tim Corcoran‘s reasons began as personal, and then evolved:

When I began tweeting from events. It wasn’t to serve the masses or generate a following, it was a convenient way to take permanent notes. The short tweets mirrored what I had been capturing, with my head down, on my notepad for years. I tend now to tweet things others may also find interesting and in return I hope others do the same for events I cannot attend live.*

My answer, obviously, is no. I don’t find it to be overrated.

In addition to being how I take my notes, I find I am more engaged when I am tweeting. Meeting new people. And usually end up meeting the speakers (if they check the twitter feed) and having deeper conversations on the topic.

As a conference organizer, live-tweeting, to me, is not just about today’s event, but it is a marketing opportunity for the next event.

With an active and engaged Twitterverse the energy carries on for days, and not just about the sessions, but about the networking. From your computer you are seeing people connect and engage, as well as highlighting the educational opportunities. From your desktop or mobile device, you can’t help but realize that you are missing out on something.

As a speaker I find it to be an immediate feedback tool:

It’s also an honest/live evaluation. No tweets. They found you boring and with nothing to say. If you suck they will say so. Lots of tweets = good information to pass along.

As a moderator I am able to engage the audience, both live and online, during the Q&A, and also to help me pose a question to the panel during the session:

As a moderator, or panelist, I watch the Twitter feed. Great way to manage questions from the audience. And I always try and pull one from the Twitterverse.

But a conversation is no fun without a debate. John Byrne, co-chair of the 2014 LMA Annual Conference, challenges us as conference attendees:

… whatever happened to an audience member simply raising his/her hand to ask a question? If you’re “virtually” attending, then Twitter is a great way to engage speakers (and maybe the only way). But if you’re in the room, then participate the old-fashioned way. It’s just better and, I daresay, more respectful. And even potentially more disruptive than any other way.

As a moderator, you need to do both.

But when 8 hands go up, the moderator has no control over what those people might ask. This way, your question rises up out of the crowd.

And, let’s face it, how many times has a “question” turned into someone wanting to be the fourth panelist?

Ann Lee Gibson, a leading consultant to law firms and legal marketers, also touches on human nature, and how Twitter is a great buffer:

… adult education research addresses that and related questions. Webinars used in distance-learning have been found to elicit more questions from adults (young or old ones) than classroom IRL does. For various reasons, e.g., feeling intimidated, shy, or “stupid,” or fear of group politics and peer or teacher reprisals, personality typing, etc. many simply won’t ask their questions or volunteer much IRL. Fact of life.

Personally, I have found my conference experience so much more rewarding since the advent of Twitter. Who can forget my brilliant post recapping the 2010 LMA Annual Conference, Me, Twitter, LMA and Laura (Gutierrez) Toledo? It’s still true today.

Social media made my conference. I was part of a community within a community via Twitter. In 140 characters or less, I was connecting with people I really didn’t know too well. We were having a “conference within a conference” and we were growing as the hours went by. The absolutely incredible part is that the Twitter community wasn’t limited to those in Denver, people were joining in from their desktops across cyberspace.

I think the best thing a conference organizer can do is use social media to capture and engage attendees. By doing so, you introduce people, and provide them a platform to engage. They in turn engage their followers, creating more opportunities – via the conference CONTENT – for conversations.

So a few tips for those live-tweeting:

  1. Let the speaker know that you are live-tweeting prior to the program beginning.
  2. Use the conference hashtag on every tweet.
  3. Sit at the blogger/social media table (if provided). Or to the side as to not distract the speakers.
  4. Follow the conference hashtag while tweeting, retweeting or commenting on other perspectives.
  5. Take the time to follow everyone who is using and engaging with the conference hashtag. You are networking, here.
  6. Don’t use this time to battle with trolls, or bash speakers.
  7. Use this time to provide thanks and praise.
  8. If the stream is full, bow out and let others lead. Retweet their content, or take the opportunity to write a short blog post instead.

So, we’ll see you at #LMA14 in a few weeks, live and local in Orlando or on Twitter. And please join us over on the conference LinkedIn group as well.

* All quotes with permission from the Legal Marketers Extraordinaire Group on Facebook.

ROI Calculator for Tickets

Oh, the bane of the marketing department’s existence: sports tickets. Let’s give a collective eye roll here. They suck time from the department. Too many lawyers use them to “entertain” quote “clients,” who are really personal friends. We know it. And yet, they can be an incredible business development tool, but it is so hard to measure their impact, and the financial investment.

Lucky for me, our client base is not based in Los Angeles, so I just buy tickets as we travel, and I use a broker.

My ticket guy, Matt Anis (who is FABULOUS and always takes care of me when I need tickets in a strange city) from Spotlight Ticket Management, Inc. just sent me their new Business Impact Calculator for sports tickets, and it looks like this: ROI Calculator

From Matt’s email to me:

The Company Ticket ROI Calculator brings together the expertise of the world’s top law firms, auditors, accountants, sports teams, and over 4,000 Spotlight customers into one simple step-by-step analysis of how much you can demand from your company tickets.

Highlighting the tax benefits, legal liabilities, and business impact of your current tickets, the no-cost ROI calculator is a necessary tool for any business with sports, concert, or theater tickets.

Click on the image to go to the live calculator.

I’m not sure how accurate it is, and there is an advanced calculator that you can use as well, but it’s the first time I have every seen anything like this come around, so play around, have fun, and let me know what you think.

A Guy Walks Into a Law Firm CMO’s Office and …

Ben Greenzweig

I’ve known Ben Greenzweig, Co-CEO, Momentum, for several years. We met through the Legal Marketing Association (LMA). Like many of my LMA friends, we started out working on an LMA project — the annual conference — moved that relationship forward, and are now personal friends.

Ben and I were recently talking about LMA and how this association, and the legal marketing profession, is different than any other. I asked Ben to write about his experience with LMA, and why, when launching his own company, he chose to remain connected to legal, legal marketing, and LMA.

———————————————————————————————-

When I walked into the offices of Loeb & Loeb in 2005 little did I know how much of a life changing event that moment would be.

The meeting had no unusual purpose, as I was keen to meet with the brand new Chief Marketing Officer of a firm that I hoped to do more business with. After an intellectually intoxicating 90 minutes, I left that meeting with not only a new client, but a friend and an introduction to a network that would – in many ways – define my professional career going forward.

For those of you that ever met Jennifer Manton, you can understand when I tell you that she can be quite persuasive; a skill built on intellect and passion and honed with experience. So it should come as no shock that she successfully convinced me to join the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) and volunteer for a leadership position with the New York chapter during that very first meeting.

Over the next few years I was an active committee co-chair and then an elected board member at large. I’ll never forget my first Annual Conference in Atlanta when I was enveloped by an overwhelming sense of community, togetherness and, perhaps most importantly, a collective spirit of support that rivaled no other industry or profession that I have ever been exposed to.

As a speaker at the Annual Conference I was unsure of what reception I would receive given my relative “newbie” status, but those fears were quickly dispelled when Jennifer, my co-presenter Michelle Chaffin, and dozens of New York chapter friends made me feel as warm and welcome as can be. (Having Maya Angelou deliver one of the most inspirational keynote addresses I’ve ever heard didn’t hurt either.)

My personal “aha” moment came in the afternoon of day one when I took a moment to view the event through a conference professional’s eyes and realized that despite significant pockets of success, there was a major opportunity to enhance the value and experience for attendees at the Annual Conference. From that moment I was determined to create a better event for LMA, an event that I couldn’t wait to attend. I was a kid wanting to create a better candy store for me and my friends.

I spent the next few years sharing my vision of a more valuable Annual Conference experience with LMA leadership and during that process became introduced to an entirely new crop of former, current and future activists and leaders that provided me with limitless time, support and guidance. People like Betsi Roach, Jeanne Hammerstrom, Jim Durham, Andrea Crews, Alycia Sutor, Aleisha Gravit, Tim Corcoran, Lisa Simon, Heather Morse-Gellar, Eva Wisnik, Dawn Gertz and so many more that I would run out of space listing here.

Fast forward to 2012, after many successful years of working with LMA and driving my previous organization to record setting growth, I decided it was time to move on and forge my own path with a new endeavor, Momentum Events and Consulting, that I co-founded with my good friend and colleague, Matt Godson.

The support, encouragement and friendly advice I received from so many of my association brothers and sisters was beyond overwhelming. Good, bad or ugly, all the advice I received was genuine and fair, compassionate and educated. The one thing that remained constant throughout this journey was the feeling that the community I had become so intertwined with over 6 years was as much a part of me as I was a part of it.

I can never repay the debt I incurred from all the support I was – and continue to be – given, but I guess I’m not supposed to because LMA is not about repayment; it’s about paying it forward. LMA is a breeding ground for success, risk-taking and advancement. It is the trapeze artist’s net, the chemist’s Bunsen burner, the automobile’s air bags. LMA will not guarantee you success or failure, but it will provide enough support, encouragement and guidance to help you make the best decision possible.

So how can I pay it forward? I can start by saying that no other professional association I have ever been exposed to has ever been as collectively focused on an individual’s personal and professional success than LMA. Many of us work for companies that compete vigorously, ruthlessly, but what remains when the clouds of the free market lift is a network of people that truly believes that a rising tide lifts all boats. To say this collaborative spirit is uncommon outside our industry would be an understatement.

Like you, I do not know what my future holds; none of us do, but I do know that no matter which path I take, I will continue to be guided  by the relationships forged within LMA and for that I will remain forever grateful.

Ben can be reached at ben@momentumevents.co.

Slapped upside the head with truth

Last week I was in Texas for the Legal Marketing Association‘s annual conference.

Like any conference, there were some knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark wins (keynote speaker James Kane) and there were some strike-outs.

In talking about one of the sessions that did not go as well as Jim’s, a colleague, who is a consultant to lawyers and law firms, shared:

It’s not okay to suck. Suck less.

That really resonated with me.

But, like most truths, it was followed up by a slap upside my head to make certain that I got the point:

If you, as an in-house person suck, whatever. But if I suck, my kids don’t eat.

It got me thinking. How many times have I, or one of my attorneys, rushed to get that presentation done? How many times have I waited to the last minute to do X or Y?

I’m an in-house marketing director. When I speak at a conference or event to attorneys, or fellow legal marketers, I am not there showing off my wares, balancing offering helpful information and hoping to land some work. I’m there for fun and for free. I’m there to lend a hand.

But that is not fair to the audience or the conference organizers. And it is doing NOTHING for my personal reputation.

I believe the reason that I am still fixated on Jim Kane’s presentation is that I can SEE the time and effort he put into it, and I am so impressed and appreciative of that effort.

Yeah, there were canned parts, which he delivered quite well, but at the end he 100% tailored the presentation to the audience. Not just legal marketers as a whole, but individuals in the audience including Laura Gutierrez, Mark Beese and others.

Jim got a hold of the attendee list and started Googling us. He included us in his closing slides. When he met and shook hands with us he remembered little factoids about who were were, whether or not we were in his closing slides.

Notice I keep saying “we.” Although Jim did not personally reference me, or my stellar job of selling Girl Scout cookies (thanks to everyone who bought some), I felt included because he included people I knew.

He took the time to get it right. And, as an extra “WOW,” please download the loyalty workbook he created for us.

So what to do WE do with this new truth?

Next time you are asked to speak, or meet with a potential new client, or are headed off to the beauty contest, don’t wait until the last minute.  Don’t just update your last presentation and materials. Don’t read the dossier in cab. Don’t wing it.

Do you research. Understand your audience. Take the time and effort that the people in the audience or in the meeting deserve.

Don’t just go through the motions.

Get it right. Knock it out of the ballpark. And, please, don’t suck.

When you speak publicly (or privately), you speak globally.

The power of speech. The power of a speech. When you couple a speech, with a microphone and an audience with access to the social web,  you have a powerful tool of communication and an opportunity to reach the world.

And with this power of the social web comes the END of anonymity. The END of control. The END of censorship. And the beginning of personal responsibility for what you say, Tweet or post.

As a member of the Legal Marketing Association’s Los Angeles Chapter, Cheryl Bame (and all of us) have learned an important lesson. The boundaries of retroactive censorship have moved, and are perhaps erased forever:

What is the difference between a pen and paper, an audio recording device or a Flip video camera?  That is the question that came to me when I learned not all of the panelists from yesterday’s LMA-LA program would allow me to post the video I shot online or on my blog.

(skip)

Despite the private event, the panelists were speaking in a public forum.  What if someone in attendance took notes, quoted all of the panelists, Tweeted, wrote a blog or article and also posted to other social networking sites?  Why is there a difference between those forms of communication and my Flip video?

Cheryl is right. The ability to take notes and share information is not new, only the medium of social media (and YouTube specifically here) is. Now, we just need to let all the speakers know this.

Social media is a powerful tool. Cheryl knows this, and so should every conference organizer and speaker:

Being a student of social media I know that video is a powerful PR tool, not just for my blog, but for the Legal Marketing Association chapter which would have gained a lot of exposure if the video went viral and was seen by hundreds if not thousands of people in the legal industry around the world.

Once you step foot on a dais, you, as a speaker and an organziation, lose all control. Your “official” scribe and videographer might be controllable, but then there’s the audience.

Have you looked out into an audience lately? Almost everyone is out there tapping away on a smart phone which came loaded with Twitter, Facebook, and a WordPress applications, along with a camera and video. With an Internet connection, content from the stage is posted to the social web with only seconds of delay.

Our industry is not the first to come to realize that you cannot control content.

We are all caretakers of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. We are all reporters. We are all producers of content. We are all distribution channels. We, as a collective, cannot be censored.

So what is a speaker to do?

As a speaker you need to take care in what you say in private, and most definitely in public. Just ask Prince and Kim Kardashian who keep trying to pull YouTube videos off the Internet, but they keep popping back up. Or the NFL, NBA or NCAA who are trying to keeps sports stars off Twitter (good luck). Or the government of Egypt who lost the revolution, thanks in great part to social media. And now there are some who are trying to ban Twitter in U.S. politics? Double good luck there.

You can try and ban social media all you want, but you won’t get too far. Once you step foot on that dais, everything you say can and should be recorded, Tweeted and shared.

The problem here isn’t social media, the problem is that you can no longer take back something you say. You can’t erase it, spin it or whitewash it. Post a picture on Facebook, you can expect it to go public. Send out a poorly worded/thought out/stupid or insensitive Tweet and it can ruin your career.

As for yesterday’s LMA-LA program, Cheryl mentioned that the program was private. It was not. It was a speech given to an audience of a professional association in a hotel conference room. ANYONE could have RSVPd to the event and attended.That’s about as public as you can get.

The speakers all knew this. However, one said something during the program that he later regretted, and is refusing to give approval to posting the video.

So, no, the YouTube video will not be posted. The official article will not mention the unmentionable.

It’s going to be up to a social media savvy attendee to get out the news, and, unfortunately, it won’t me me.

I had chosen to sit in the back of the room yesterday and listen to the program. I took some notes, but nothing intensive. I knew that Cheryl was recording the event and that it would be posted to YouTube. I guess not.

What does a legal marketer do?

While getting ready for school and work this morning, my 7-year old asked me what I did at work.

She knows my office is up really high in the tallest building west of the Mississippi. She knows that I have a really cool white board that she likes to draw on. She knows I work with lawyers, but that I’m not one.

She’s seven and doesn’t understand terminology like “business development,” “collateral,” and “reputation management.” She knows all about the Internet; it’s where she plays with her Webkinz, watches Fred videos on YouTube (click at your own risk. Really annoying), and e-mails her friend Tamaki in Japan. However, she doesn’t understand “social media” and “social networking.” To her, Facebook is just a place where I share pictures of her sticking out her tongue.

Truth be told, I had an associate ask me the same question recently: “What do you do?”

So what do I do?? I’m a legal marketer, which doesn’t really convey too much. Personally, I think of my title as an an umbrella term that includes numerous job responsibilities:

  • I’m the guardian of the firm’s image. Whether graphic, website, blogs, invitations, tribute ads, behavior at external events, etc.
  • I’m responsible for “external happy.” That’s fancy speak for client relations, external events, conferences, client communications, etc. “Internal happy” belongs to HR and administration.
  • I’m chief psychiatrist. My door is always available for shutting for you to vent your frustrations, as long as you’re willing to take on some of my solutions.
  • I’m the messenger. I carry information between partners and offices … and get to act as a conduit.
  • I’m the conduit. Since I know what you’re doing, and what the partner down the hall, or across the country is doing, I can start making meaningful connections.
  • I’m the impartial party. Since I’m not affected by the compensation structure, I have no problems seeing beyond the dollar signs and billable hour requirements when it comes to new business development.
  • I’m the cheerleader. If it’s a good idea, I’ll root for it loud and strong.
  • I’m the story assignment desk. I troll the news and court verdicts for blog ideas, and assign partners to write up posts and client alerts (whether they do it or not, well, that’s another job).
  • I’m the traffic cop. Gotta make sure those deadlines are kept.
  • I’m the referee. Sometimes between staff. Sometimes between partners.
  • I’m the virus (or antidote, depending on your perspective). I slowly infect the partnership with new ideas, spreading marketing and business development ideas and concepts, which slowly change the way the attorneys approach their new business generation.
  • I’m the master-manipulator. If it’s a good idea, I’ll make sure that at some point it becomes your good idea and gets implemented.

So, what’s my job … I’m in charge of making sure “It “ gets done. “It’s” a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. And “It” changes on any given day.

Tweeting LMA: Thursday

Track Session Time LMA Tweeters
General Session Opening Remarks & LMA Annual Report 08:30 – 8:45 @meganmckeon
General Session Your Honor Awards 08:45 – 9:00 @meganmckeon
General Session Keynote Address 09:00 10:30 @gerkmana

@jdtwitt

@lindsaygriffith @meganmckeon

@nancymyrland

One: Business of Law Recovery: Refocusing the Inside Counsel/Outside Counsel Partnership to Maximize Profitability 11:15-12:00 @lindsaygriffith
One: Business of Law Examining the Current Use of Alternative Arrangements 12:00-12:45 @lindsaygriffith

@meganmckeon

Two: Business Development Transition from a Marketing to a Business Development Mindset 11:15-12:00 @jdtwitt

@meganmckeon

@rebeccawissler

@lalaland999

@duetsblog

Two: Business Development Tactical Approaches for Developing Key Marketing Initiatives that Align with the Firm’s 12:00-12:45 @jdtwitt

@holdencalgary

@lalaland999

@duetsblog

Three: Client Service Developing a Long Term Key Client Initiative 11:15-12:00 @kateh32
Three: Client Service Relevance: Relationships: Revenue – Pathways to Profitability through Client Loyalty 12:00-12:45 @kateh32
Four: Public Relations “Wear Shoes that Match, and 7 other things I’ve learned working with lawyers in 25 years” 11:15-12:00 @katescoptur
Four: Public Relations Establishing a Comprehensive PR Strategy 12:00-12:45 @katescoptur
General Session Hall of Fame & Your Honor Awards 12:45 – 2:00 @meganmckeon
One: Business of Law Current Macro Economic Trends and the Impact on Practice Areas 2:30 – 3:30 @chris_whitmore
Two: Business Development RFP Best Practices and Emerging Trends 2:30 – 3:30 @rachaelDC

@lalaland999

@duetsblog

Three: Strategy Why Strategic Planning Matters – Especially Now 2:30 – 3:30 TBA
Four: New Media Leveraging Social Networking – Real World Applications of Web 2.0 that have led to New Business 2:30 – 3:30 @gerkmana

@holdencalgary

@jdtwitt

@kateh32

@lindsaygriffith

@nancymyrland

One: Leadership Social Media Strategies for Small to Mid-Sized Law Firms 4:00 – 4:45 @gerkmana

@holdencalgary

@jdtwitt

@nancymyrland

@rebeccawissler

@lalaland999

@duetsblog

One: Leadership Getting the Most – and Best – Out of Your Staff 4:45 – 5:30 @rebeccawissler

@lalaland999

@duetsblog

Two: Business Development Fresh Approaches for Honing Your Attorney Coaching and Negotiation Skills 4:00 – 4:45 TBA
Two: Business Development Process Improvement: Legal Lean Sigma for Law Firms 4:45 – 5:30 TBA
Three: Strategy The Rising Role of the Law Firm Business Manager 4:00 – 4:45 TBA
Three: Strategy Creative Strategies for Better Managing Limited Marketing Resources 4:45 – 5:30 @jdtwitt
Four: Public Relations Paving Your Path to Client Focused Communications – The Intersection of PR and Business Development 4:00 – 4:45 @kateh32
Four: Public Relations Managing the Media When Crisis Strikes 4:45 – 5:30 @kateh32
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