Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the things public relations boils down to is honest persuasion, but if you think about it, everyone persuades on a daily basis: persuading the jury or judge to decide a case, media or potential clients to interview you or hire you, your kids to eat their vegetables (maybe the hardest one of all). Persuasion can also involve changing negative opinions and encouraging positive ones. There are a number of things you should remember when persuading your way through life.
Know who you’re persuading
Would you talk to your clients or the media the same way you talk to your family? Would you pitch the editor of IP Law and Business about your personal injury firm? Sure, these are blatantly obvious questions, but they highlight the point that you should always consider your audience when attempting to persuade. Men, women, liberals, conservatives, old, young—all have different concerns and interests. Use different angles and arguments depending upon what will resonate with those you’re trying to reach and speak to what they care about.
Know how to persuade
Naturally there are various ways to appeal to different audiences. Interesting or important statistics are always effective in attracting attention, and knowing such information which will greatly assist in persuading others. Emotional appeals are effective as well because they strike a chord with our human instincts. Think “speaking from the heart, to the heart.” You can also establish a need, by explaining who your firm is and what you do to help people. Client testimonials are great to use in this case (those third party endorsements really take the cake).
Know when to persuade
You can persuade anytime and anywhere! When people sense your passion for what you do, they will be naturally persuaded. Think about the frequent opportunities to respond to or comment on local or national legal news. Contact the reporters on the story and share your thoughts or bring up an angle they might not have thought of. Is your firm in the middle of a big case? Contact the media and tell them how the decision could affect others. The time is always right to persuade.