The elevator speech – that quick spiel you use to answer the old “What do you do?” question – is a hang-up for many lawyers. It’s hard to talk about yourself, and harder still to make it brief, meaningful and client-centric.
Turns out poetry can help – haiku, to be exact. (Although some practices may lend themselves to limericks, we know.) Matt Homann, one of my favorite legal innovators, developed a formula to craft a short, sweet and client-focused elevator speech that’s based on Japanese haiku. I love that it forces concision, and it focuses on the client.
The three questions, which must be answered within the specified number of words:
- Who do I help? (Answer in five words)
- What do I do for them? (Answer in seven words)
- Why do they need me? (Answer in five words)
A sample response from a business lawyer could be:
I help small business owners
incorporate their businesses and protect their ideas
so they can sleep better.
I help spouses in conflict
separate their assets and make parenting plans
to keep their kids secure.
Contrast that with the prototypical “I’m an attorney at Such & Such” introduction. The haiku version is human, real and action-oriented.
Break out a pen and paper, and try your own haiku. Think about how you can incorporate it into your firm bio or LinkedIn, profile, too – you now have a great starting point for your personal brand.
I help savvy law firms
Connect with clients who need their help
so they can grow purposefully.
Note: A previous version of this article appeared on Ms. JD.