Do People Like you? Do you care?


Be Nice to PeopleIf you’ve worked in a larger law firm then you’ve met this person.  They’re the person who has been in practice for 45 years, and they are stuck in their ways.  People try to avoid them if possible, because interactions with this person leave them shivering, terrified, for hours on end.  They are cantankerous, cranky, and unapproachable.  And yet they have been a part of the firm’s growth and overseen thousands upon thousands of clients in their time.

You stop and wonder to yourself – what the?

Don’t Be the Cranky Person

Today I have a simple message, that I’m going to try and string into a long enough article so that this doesn’t fit in a single tweet:  having people like you is important.

Of course, it’s important on a social level – people not liking you is a bit depressing.  However I’m not your personal counselor – I’m a lawyer, and so my message is about the professional side of being liked.

Specifically, the marketing, networking and rainmaking possibilities associated with being liked.  Have you stopped to consider just how important these things are?  It’s easy to get caught up in “business mode” in the law, and not actually take the time to ensure that your clients, colleagues and competitors are developing a respect for you on both personal and professional levels – that is, they like you.

But why is this important?

People Don’t do Business with People they don’t Like

Pretty simple right?  if you’re the grumpy guy, how can you possible expect somebody to want to call you back?

There is one option: you are the best lawyer in the country on a particular topic, and you are in such high demand that you can afford to be a jerk.

If you’re that person – please contact me as I’d love to know how you did it.  For the rest of us mere mortals though, we need to be approachable enough that our clients and colleagues find us easy to work with, responsive and pleasant.

People Won’t Refer you Business if they don’t like you

It doesn’t just stop with people coming  back though.  Can you imagine – a person is happy with the legal outcome they got, and an opportunity comes up for them to refer somebody to you.  However, you have been aloof and impersonal the entire time to the extent that they found you rude.  Are they really going to refer to you their neighbour, friend, colleague or business associate?  Of course not.  Why would they put their reputation at risk by sending someone to you as a recommendation if you are going to potentially insult them.  Instead, they are going to aim for someone who is far more likeable.

I think the benefits are a pretty easy sell really.

Go forth today and… be nice.

Happy Lawyering!