My old law-marketing friend Heather Morse has a fun and interesting blog, The Legal Water Cooler.  A recent post entitled “Slapped upside the head with truth.” discussed her recent attendance at a national marketing conference, and a post-conference chat she had at the airport with a disgruntled attendee at the same conference.

Yeah, that was me. 

Heather, quoting our conversation on her blog:

“In talking about one of the sessions that did not go [very well], a colleague, who is a consultant to lawyers and law firms, shared:
“It’s not okay to suck.  Suck less.”
“That really resonated with me.
“But, like most truths, it was followed up by a slap upside my head to make certain that I got the point
“If you, as an in-house person suck, whatever. 
But if I suck, my kids don’t eat.”
“It got me thinking. How many times have I, or one of my attorneys, rushed to get that presentation done? How many times have I waited to the last minute to do X or Y?”

The context was my annoyance at having paid a significant price to attend the national conference, both in time and money, which was full of unskilled, inexperienced presenters.  In my opinion, the conference committee, looking for new presenters, had neglected to weight “speaking experience” highly enough in the selection process.

Therefore, they ended up with nervous speakers who were smart, but couldn’t command a room.  As a result, many of the programs were simply awful.

The message for conference organizers?
Substance is important.  But it’s rarely enough.

The ability to convey that substance to the audience is also important.
A great speaker has both.  

Looking for both for your own programs?  
Browse our speaker database. 


Leave a Comment
  1. Nancy Fox says:

    I can gather which conference you’re referring to, Ross. Surprising because you can just imagine the hours of deliberation that went into selecting the speakers, and the hundreds of applicants. Makes you wonder what criteria they used to choose.
    Where there is a problem, a saleable solution presents itself…

  2. Terry Graham says:

    Winging it is truly “flying in the face of disaster”. Speaker training is invaluable, though you have to develop a thick skin to handle the critique, understanding it’s all about communicating better than before. Always room for improvement! All personality types (shy, extroverts) can be dynamic, engaging speakers given the right training. Terry Graham

Leave a Reply