Thursday, April 7, 2011

Misty Sheffield: Virtual Paralegal Practice Tip

Misty L. Sheffield, CP provides today's Virtual Paralegal Tip. Misty is the creator, owner, and lead paralegal of Legal Kick, LLC, a freelance paralegal firm specializing in civil litigation.

Misty is a Certified Paralegal through the National Association of Legal Assistants; a 1992 graduate from the National Center for Paralegal Training, an ABA-approved program in Atlanta, Georgia; and a 1991 graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

Misty has over 12 years of experience working in law firms, the judicial system, and as a freelance paralegal. She volunteers with her local Victim and Witness Assistance Program and as a guest speaker for local paralegal programs.


“The Fast Pitch”
I am not talking baseball; I am talking marketing. The virtual paralegal’s most frequently used marketing tool is the fast pitch or elevator speech, a quick, condensed answer to the question, “What do you do?” Your elevator speech should be crafted to create interest and intrigue in the listener.

When I went into business for myself in 1995, my first elevator speech was a huge flop. I would simply say, “I am a freelance paralegal.” My audience would usually respond in confusion instead of curiosity. I have tried different approaches to elevator speeches through the years.

I have finally settled on one that I am comfortable with no matter whom my audience may be, and it usually creates a genuine interest in what I do. I now answer by saying, continue “I help small law firms save money.” This answer usually leads to an interesting conversation. I knew that I finally had my elevator speech right when people began to say things such as, “I can’t wait to tell my neighbor, who is an attorney, about what you do.”

If you never move your audience to action (such as asking for a business card or mentioning a referral) you need to revise your elevator speech. Instead of starting your answer with, “I am,” try starting with “I help.” Also, never forget to shift the conversation to the other person by asking, “So, what do you do?”

Happy Marketing!

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