Jer: “TikTok for Lawyers? Nope.”

Kevin: “TikTok is real.”

Jer: “Recalculating . . .”

Gotta rethink this one after reading Kevin O’Keefe’s newest take:

I can turn on the TV, the scheduled version of which is becoming antiquidated, and see news and interview shows. I get what the news producer produces and selects, without any knowledge of my interests.

Takes a lot of time to watch TV, with all the commercials, and I don’t see near as much as on TikTok. I like the TikTok format better as well.

TikTok users are watching TikTok, on average, 90 minutes a day. I’m far from that, but with my knowledge of how much TV (scheduled or streaming) Americans watch, much of it junk (in my opinion), I get the TikTok attraction.

I’m seeing lawyers, former presidents, interviews of musicians I respect, senators, entrepreneurs and others whose brief talks or interviews I enjoy.

This morning I saw a brief 60 Minutes’ interview with Billy Joel. An entertainer on a news show, both I enjoy, delivered in a brief and entertaining fashion – an interview I’d not have not seen but for TikTok.

TikTok is tailored video or television on one’s iPhone or iPad.

TikTok falls in the creator economy, verus the traditional media produced economy. I trust these “creators” as people and I trust and enjoy the informal format, as compared to the tradional.

Lawyers and law firms have shown that trust can be established with followers on the net. Whether it be blogging, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, your trusted insight has allowed you to connect with your target audience.

As lawyers and law firms you now need to start studying TikTok, watching it, playing with it, and be ready to start using it.

TikTok is real.

OK, you have gotten through the body of your presentation satisfactorily. Time to relax, right? Nope. There is one hurdle left: The question and answer period. This is when some presenters wilt and others shine. With a few tips, some experience and a modest amount of intestinal fortitude, you can shine every time. Here’s how:

Anticipate questions. It’s usually easy for a well prepared speaker to anticipate likely questions. Take a little time to plan how you will approach the most difficult. Advance preparation gives you the option to pre-empt troublesome questions by addressing them yourself during the body of your presentation.

Set the ground rules. At the beginning of your talk tell the audience whether you will be taking questions, and if so, when. Taking questions only after you have finished speaking has much to recommend it.

Ask yourself the question you most want to answer. At the beginning of the Q & A period tell the audience: “People often ask [whatever].” This lets you start strong with an answer that will help you get your message out. Some speakers have been known to plant a question with a friendly audience member.

Maintain appropriate eye contact. Focus your attention on the questioner while she is speaking. Demonstrate engagement and respect. When answering the question shift your focus to the audience. This subtly draws the audience’s attention away from the speaker and toward you.

Repeat the question. In many venues audience questions will be inaudible to most attendees. Repeating the question also reduces the possibility of misunderstanding. A side benefit: Repeating the question can gain a few seconds to formulate your answer.

Ask the questioner to elaborate if the question is unclear. Restating the question can be an effective technique. Try paraphrasing it and asking the questioner if your restatement reflects her concerns.

Reflect before reacting. After repeating the question don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to think before you begin your answer. As noted by Garr Reynolds in The Naked Presenter (2011): It’s a conversation, not a race.

Avoid the trap of believing you must know the answer to every question. No one knows everything. Offering to look up the answer after the presentation is often the best approach. Some speech experts recommend that if you are stumped you should solicit answers from the audience. This is a good approach in some situations.

Compliment the questioner if deserved. Some speech instructors discourage the practice of complimenting an audience member for asking a good question. Their theory is that this will discourage other audience members from asking questions for fear theirs won’t be as good.

My experience has been exactly the opposite. I’ve gotten multiple benefits from complimenting good questions and use this technique frequently. I will sometimes even make a big deal of thanking the questioner for reminding me of such an important point. If handled well the compliment will serve to emphasize a key point I want to make: “Thank you! This is one of the most important questions that could be asked about this topic.”

Liberal use of compliments also tends to encourage other audience members to ask “good” questions, i.e., ones that will also earn the approbation of the authority figure in front of the room (you).

Embody brevity. Rambling, repetitive answers are one of the most common—and damaging—Q & A errors. Don’t squander the good impression you have worked so hard to create in the body of your presentation. Make the important points concisely and then shut up.

Respect questioners. Never inadvertently make a questioner feel ignorant or stupid. Also avoid disrespecting them more subtly by appearing to be bored or condescending in your answer.

Unless the questioner is blatantly a major league jerk the rest of the audience will identify with them, not you, so disrespecting a questioner is the functional equivalent of disrespecting the whole audience. Even if you wish you were somewhere else, you should strive to treat each questioner like she is star NPR interviewer Terry Gross and you are a guest on her show Fresh Air.

Match your demeanor to the question. Malcom Kushner provided some not-so-dumb advice in Public Speaking & Presentations for Dummies:

If someone is confused, be understanding.

If someone is blatantly offensive, be forceful and disapproving (without counterattacking).

If someone is seeking information, be professorial. Never lose control of yourself.

Know how to deal with a dead audience. No questions? Not a problem for the resourceful presenter!

  • Prime the pump by asking yourself a question, one whose answer will advance the purposes of your presentation.
  • Ask a question that an audience member asked you privately before your talk.
  • Break the ice by asking the audience questions: “How many of you think X? How many think Y”
  • Offer to answer questions privately. Some audience members may have questions they don’t want to expose to the group.

Do not let the Q&A session run late. This goes double if you are the last speaker before lunch or the last speaker of the day. In fact, end your presentation early if possible. This is one of many things I learned from the best presenter I’ve been lucky enough to work with, Greg Siskind. Invite those who still have questions to catch up with you after the formal session.

Finish strong. Questions all answered? No questions? Either way, whatever you do, don’t say something like, “Well, I guess that’s it” and creep off stage. Reiterate a key point you want to make and thank the audience for their attention.

This article appeared originally at LLRX.com.

Lots of people all too willing to pronounce Covid-inspired increase in remote work means offices are dead. We’re all going to be working remotely now nearly all the time now, or at least have the option to do so, right?

Ian Bogost does not agree. Here’s the money quote from his article in The Atlantic:

 Indeed, it’s possible, or even likely, that my employer—and yours—could help their workers and the bottom line, simply by allowing us to work from home or come in on a hybrid plan. Remote, flexible employment might be a win for everyone.

But actually, it isn’t. A rational assessment of your time and productivity was never quite at issue, and I think it never will be. Companies have been pulling employees back to work in person irrespective of anyone’s well-being or efficiency. That’s because return-to-office plans are not concerned, in any fundamental way, with workers and their plight or preferences. Rather they serve as affirmations of a superseding value—one that spans every industry of knowledge work. If your boss is nudging you to come back to your cubicle, the policy has less to do with one specific firm than with the whole firmament of office life: the Office, as an institution. The Office must endure! To the office we must go.

This should be obvious, but somehow it is not: The existence of an office is the central premise of office work, and nothing—not even a pandemic—will make it go away.

This is similar to what I have been saying for some time. Many people will be working remotely than in the past, but offices–and the desirability and possible necessity for physical presence in the workplace–are most likely not going to disappear anytime soon, if ever. Most of those who believe otherwise are probably engaged in wishful thinking.

One further point:

At a minimum, those willing to return to work in the office without having to be dragged into doing so will have a competitive advantage over less flexible workers.

Photo by Ivan Samkov, via Pexels.com.

What is the most important thing investors should know about the topic de jour, non-fungible tokens?
That they are most likely to be the next illustration of the greater fool theory.
We agree with
Dennis Kennedy:

NFTs seem to be making a lot of money and there is a tremendous sense of FOMO, the fear of missing out around them. And they’re also so hot that we’re just now starting to get the thing of that where people saying they’re overhyped and they have nowhere to go but down. And so, we’ve longtime listeners that will recognize the classic Gartner hype cycle in effect there. So, we’re definitely in one of those top levels of the hype cycle right now so which it was where it becomes important to really understand what’s going on and to start to sift through what is, let me call somewhat ironically here, what is real and what is not real and what we need to pay attention to and what’s going to last.

What do lawyers need to know about NFTs? Loads and loads, since their use implicates legal concerns from estate planning to intellectual property to investment rules and crimes. There will always be a greater fool who is anxious to litigate.

The Kennedy Mighell podcast undertakes to provide an intro to NFTs for lawyers.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Q & A Graphic
Answering Difficult Questions

The first entry in my Presenter’s Guide Series dealt with answering audience questions. The second article, dealing with on how presenters should handle difficulty questions, is now available at LLRX.com.

The next two in the series will deal with:

  1. How presenters can help themselves by controlling the flow of questions, and
  2. How prestenters can advance their objectives by asking the audience questions.

Very pleased to see that my first book has increased in value. The 1999 version cost $40. A new copy of it now sells for $62.98. Better hurry, they have only two new copies left!

I can only hope my next book has the same longevity.

Own The Map Book Cover
Own the Map

An article in this month’s ABA Journal entitled Customers are relying on web searches, but some lawyers aren’t prioritizing SEO and social media marketing (ABA members only) provides more evidence that the legal profession is generally not on the cutting edge of technology:

Seth Price, a founding partner of Price Benowitz Accident Injury Lawyers in Washington, D.C., says many law firms don’t use SEO or social media because they’re stuck in an older mindset when it comes to marketing, and they don’t believe that change is necessary.

“As a result, they think there is no need for other forms of marketing because what they’re doing has worked well enough so far,” Price says. “But newer law firms are recognizing the gaps when it comes to digital marketing, and this is allowing them to grow quickly and therefore secure a more competitive position within the industry.”

Conrad Saam‘s Own the Map remains the single best resource for easing lawyers into sophisticated use of SEO. Our review of this excellent book is available.