Tuesday shorts: 10/16/07

Today’s shorts are very, very short.

Email interpretation:  We’ve come to rely on email as a quick and easy way to get a message across.  Quicker than voicemail and an easy way to create a record, we use email for everything from assignments to news to forwarding jokes.   David Giacalone of f/k/a offers commentary on a recent New York Time op-ed piece by emotional and social intelligence author Daniel Goleman titled E-Mail is Easy to Write (and to Misread).  Goleman describes neuroscience-based evidence that email lacks the emotional cues that keep us on track in face-to-face or telephone conversation.  As a result, Goleman writes, “we tend to misinterpret positive e-mail messages as more neutral, and neutral ones as more negative, than the sender intended. Even jokes are rated as less funny by recipients than by senders.”  The discussion is an interesting one, especially because, as Giacalone points out, written materials have always lacked emotional cues, and the primary difference may be the speed and limited attention we pay to writing emails.  Bottom line: be aware of missing context when you write emails and when you read them.

And Matt Homann of the [non]billable hour offers 9 success tips that underlie 25 Ways to Find a Client, based on a post by Dumb Little Man on 25 ways to get a date offline.  The tips are easy, simple, and just plain good ideas for living, such as, “Have a simple goal of making new friends. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Seek to find a great friend and see where things lead.”  Dumb Little Man isn’t so dumb.

I’ve also been intending to link to a Law Practice Today article about Matt Homann, specifically his Mini-Manifestos with 15 rules for clients and 17 rules for lawyers.  Practice would be much simpler and better for both lawyers and clients if everyone could apply these rules.  Examples?

For clients: 5.  You want to buy results, not time. Most lawyers sell time, not results. Make sure you both understand the difference before your first bill arrives. You will certainly understand the difference after.
6.  If you want to find a lawyer who sells results, look hard. There are a few of them out there. They are the ones who can still smile because they get to see their children before 9:00 at night.

For lawyers: 9.  Your clients will always know their business better than you do. They may even know the law better than you. Make sure to seek their advice before giving yours.
11.  Your clients have wants. Your clients have needs. They often don’t know the difference.

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