Categories
Presentation Tips

Presentation Tip Number 7: Should You Have Handouts?

A simple question deserves a simple answer:

YES, nearly always.

There are many reasons for this.  The simplest is that at least a few audience members, perhaps many, will consider the failure to provide some written accompaniment to be evidence of apathy and/or laziness.  Apathetic slacker is not the image most of us want to project.

However, handouts are not merely an appearance issue.  Well-done handouts enhance audience understanding and increase the chance they will retain your message.  They are also a basic courtesy for the audience, freeing them from the frantic scramble to write down every important thing you say.  (You will be saying important things, right?).

Excuses for Lack of Handouts

Excuse 1: I want the audience to be paying attention to me while I’m speaking, not a handout.

I call this the narcissist excuse.  Few presenters are capable of constructing such enthralling handouts, but even if you are one of this talented group, is it really so bad if people learn the material from your handout instead of your eloquent voice? 

In any event, if you think your handouts are really that extraordinary, why not distribute them after your talk, instead of at the beginning?  If you take this approach, be sure to let the audience know at the beginning of your remarks, so they won’t feel a need to take duplicative notes.

Excuse 2: Handouts will dilute the value of my jokes or other surprises. 

This excuse has a silver lining of sorts: At least the presenter is trying to keep the audience engaged and believes their material is good enough to deserve protection.

However, in this situation it is possible to have the best of both worlds:

Again, there’s no law against distributing your handouts at the end of your talk.  Be sure to alert the audience when you begin speaking that you will have handouts, so they don’t feel obligated to write down every word you say.

Another approach is to distribute an edited version of the material at the beginning. Good slideshow software facilitates preparing a redacted version of your remarks.  You can create a separate version of your slide show that omits the surprise-killing slides.  This still requires a little extra work, but it’s worth it if you have high quality jokes or other surprises.

Excuse 3: Distributing handouts will make the audience remember the presentation better, so I can’t use the same material next year.

Wow!  This is my absolute favorite excuse.  There’s so much wrong with it that I don’t know where to start. 

Isn’t helping the audience remember what you are saying the whole point?  This excuse tacitly admits that handouts increase audience retention of the material.  Isn’t that’s a good thing, instead of a bad thing?

Audiences receiving compliance-oriented training should not have to suffer the same canned presentations every year.  This approach is no more attractive by delivering the material in a quasi-stealth manner, withholding handouts that might help the audiences remember the material. 

A key objective of this series of Presention Tips is to empower presenters so that coming up with fresh, engaging material each year does not seem like an overwhelming challenge.  We will be distributing our ideas in future columns, and we solicit your suggestions in the Comments section below.

Categories
Productivity Tips

Don’t Write Me A Novel!

One CEO’s method of avoiding long emails she doesn’t have time to read:

“I also always say to my team: ‘Please don’t write me a novel, I won’t read it.’ I just don’t have the time. Instead, write in the subject line what it is that this is about. And tell me upfront–is a decision needed, or do you need me to look at something, or is it a ‘When you have time, take a look at this’?–so I can prioritize effectively and be responsive when I need to be.”

Source: Life Would Be Better If We Added This Line to Every Email

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Productivity Tips

New Dennis Kennedy Book: Successful Innovation Outcomes In Law

Since having the pleasure of working with Dennis Kennedy for three years on The Internet Roundtable, an LLRX.com column about lawyer marketing on the Internet, I’m not surprised that The Artificial Lawyer has a favorable review of his new book, Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations. It’s now available from Amazon.

Dennis has well deserved reputation as an expert on legal technology He is also a dynamic speaker, worth considering the next time you are looking for a keynoter.

Kennedy Innovation Book
Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law
Categories
Blogs for Lawyers

Quoting and Linking to Others’ Work on Your Lawblog

Kevin O’Keefe has some ideas about quoting and linking to others’ work:

Far too many people today blog based on their own knowledge as an expert on a subject without referencing anyone. It’s a breath of fresh air, as an authority and long time blogger in a niche, for someone to cite what I said and why. I remember those people as they stick out like shining stars. 

Couple ways to let the authority know that you referenced them. Share your post on Twitter and give them a hat tip, h/t @kevinokeefe. Alternatively, drop them an email saying “as a courtesy, I wanted to let you know that I referenced what you wrote/said in a recent blog post of mine etc, keep up the good work.”

Source: Quoting and Linking to Others’ Writings and Work On Your Law Blog | Real Lawyers Have Blogs

Categories
KM Productivity Tips

Are Robots Replacing Lawyers? Not Like You Think | ABA Law Practice Today

Dorna Moini’s Law Practice Today article takes a sanguine view of the threat of automation taking lawyer jobs:

Automation is playing a major role in helping create more legal opportunities rather than eliminate legal jobs. In fact, according to a recent UCLA Law Review article, two leading experts on automation say that technology complements the work of many lawyers, rather than replacing it. Similarly, a recent study of 20 corporate law firms byDocumate found that selling online workflows increased the revenue generated from first stage incorporation work by 210% in just the first two months. These findings are backed up by statistics from the McKinsey Global Institute, which found that only 23% of lawyers’ current jobs could be fully automated.

If automation is not replacing lawyers, how it is impacting the legal profession? Widespread automation of routine documents and legal forms, particularly in areas such as family law, estate planning, or employment law, has helped to introduce more consumers to the availability of legal services. While the lawyers may no longer be handling the routine work that comes with the templates, providing automated forms opens the door for those lawyers to offer their services to a wider segment of the population and to provide other, more nuanced legal services to the consumers who are using those forms. The end result is an increase in their overall workload and their total number of hours billed for higher-value work (or, alternatively, more free time).

The popular notion that automating a single aspect of the law will necessarily obviate the rest of lawyers’ jobs is misplaced. For example, automated forms are undoubtedly increasing the number of clients who now have access to legal representation and reducing the number of hours lawyers are spending on manual, routine tasks. Nonetheless, the bulk of legal practice is at no risk of being replaced by technology. Human lawyers will always be needed for the more critical tasks, like formulating arguments, advising clients, negotiating deals or settlements, and appearing in court.

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Security

The Ethical Obligation of Maintaining Reasonable Cybersecurity Measures | ABA Law Practice Today

ABA Law Practice Today has an excellent reminder that cybersecurity implicates multiple provisions of the Model Rules:

[The leading ethics opinion] eferences five of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as the foundation of the opinion. These rules pertain to the duty of competence, the expectation of keeping clients reasonably informed, attorney-client confidentiality, and the responsibility of a managing or supervisory attorney to ensure a firm’s compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct for both attorney and non-attorneys alike.

Source: The Ethical Obligation of Maintaining Reasonable Cybersecurity Measures | ABA Law Practice Today

Categories
Security

Why the Cloud is the New Electricity–and What it Means to Lawyers

ABA TECHSHOW 2020 will be held  this year in Chicago on February 26 – 29, but the show’s blog is up and running. This month it features a link to an interview with cloud expert Andy Wilson in podcast and transcript formats. The topic is “The Cloud is the New Electricity–and What it Means to Lawyers.”

Here’s Wilson’s take on the security issue:

Well, ironically, I guess that most of the cloud providers that are coming to their door are orders of magnitude more secure than the way that they are handling data. There’s been a couple of studies that have been put out around law firm cybersecurity risk and 80% of Am Law 100 law firms have already been hacked; you probably heard of some of the biggest ones, DLA Piper was shut down for an entire week.

And one in four law firms, which 80% of law firms are fewer than 10 attorneys, have been breached, but they probably don’t know it because they don’t have the technology to even detect an intrusion.

Whereas a cloud service, what a cloud is offering is trust, like hey, listen, trust us to host your data because we have a team of engineers that are monitoring for detection, we have a software enabled that’s monitoring for intrusion detection, we have encryption at rest, we have SOC 2 Type 2 certifications, we have all these things. But fundamentally what they are selling is trust, and there’s ways to verify that trust if you are a law firm.

Most of these companies are going to have a security page where they list all their certifications, you can ask for copies of their SOC 2 Type 2, which is a big difference than a Type 1 certification, not just what Amazon provides. You can’t get by with that. I wouldn’t trust that, because obviously Amazon’s data center is SOC 2 Type 2 certified, amongst other things, but maybe the vendor selling the services hasn’t actually achieved a level of SOC 2 certification on their own, which is a red flag. So you can test that.

If you want to — if you are spending a lot of money in these cloud services, you can hire 10 testers, almost like white hat hackers, where they will try and penetrate the production environment of this cloud service. I wouldn’t recommend that for anything. If you are not going to spend $100,000 or more a year in these services, you probably can’t afford that.

Categories
Presentation Tips

Presentation Tip 6: Lessons from Movie New Year’s Eve

New Year's Eve Poster.jpg

We begin the new year seeking inspiration from an oldie-but-goodie 2011 movie, New Year’s Eve. Despite its star-studded cast that included Robert DeNiro, Hillary Swank, Michelle Pfeiffer,  Halle Berry, Ashton Krutcher and many others, this movie met with critical disdain (including a pathetic 7% rating at Rotten Tomatoes) and limited success at the box office. A romantic comedy in the Love, Actually and Valentine’s Day mode, it was less successful than those films.

One part of the movie met with success, at least in this quarter. Near the middle of the movie, the machinery that raises and lowers the ball for the iconic Times Square ball drop turns balky. The assembled crowd is worried that their fun will be spoiled.

The character portrayed by Hillary Swank is asked to take the microphone and give the crowd an update. Everyone is expecting reassurance. The Swank character provides more: Inspiration. She goes beyond the immediate crisis to exhort the audience to approach the holiday in the right way. The audience received not just reassurance but vision:

And as you all can see, the ball has stopped half way to its perch. it’s suspended there to remind us before we pop the champagne and celebrate the new year, to stop, and reflect on the year that has gone by, to remember both our triumphs and our missteps, our promises made and broken, the times we opened ourselves up to great adventures… or closed ourselves down for fear of getting hurt, because that’s what new year’s all about , getting another chance, a chance to forgive. to do better, to do more, to give more, to love more, and to stop worrying about what if… and start embracing what will be. so when that ball drops at midnight, and it will drop, let’s remember to be nice to each other, kind to each other, and not just tonight but all year long.

IMDB.com

Let’s resolve that during the coming year, we’ll all try to give our audiences more. Let’s resolve to give students engaging material that will not just inform but inspire.

We will be doing the best we can to support you in this effort by providing useful resources through this Training Tips column.

Categories
Presentation Tips

Presentation Tip 5: What Not to Do (The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation)

Peter Norvig’s clever demonstration of how computer slideshow software would have mangled the Gettysburg Address provides more than its share of laughs, but there is also much to learn from it.

In an accompanying essay, Norvig seems to suggest that Powerpoint presentations are always bad.  Antipathy toward slide shows is understandable: A large majority of the ones I’ve seen have been poorly done. 

However, it’s important to keep things in perspective.  Slide shows are merely tools.  They can produce good results or bad results, depending on the skill of the workman. 

One of the goals of Training Tips is to help trainers make sure their presentation skills are workmanlike.  We will be devoting multiple columns toward helping you come up with high quality audiovisual aids, including slide shows. 

Categories
Blogs for Lawyers

My Shingle 17th Anniversary

Carolyn Elefant’s My Shingle is celebrating its 17th anniversary. I remember with pleasure working with her as a co-presenter at a Maryland Bar Association CLE program many years ago.

Carolyn’s blog served as an inspiration to countless lawyer blogger wannabes. It also helped her to established her as a force to be recognized in the legal world, building an versatile, enviable career, as evidenced by her LinkedIn presence.

Kevin O’Keefe, of Real Lawyers Have Blogs, would be proud of her.