Sharing this interesting article from this week’s The Economist about the power of being concise and redundant in our communications which I believe is instructive for in-house counsel.
Here’s my favorite quote from the article which is a great best practice for in-house lawyers when they communicate with clients: “The advice to keep it trim is still good counsel. Blaise Pascal, a French author of the 17th century, once apologised for a long letter by saying: “I have not had time to make it shorter.” Keeping things tight can be hard work for the writer, but it saves time for the reader, at least up to a point. Make your prose as lean as necessary to keep your reader reading—but not more.”
In my experience as a corporate counsel, I have learned that it’s super important to communicate in a succinct, clear and impactful fashion with my clients. Here’s a few things I do:
☑️ Keep your email communications to your clients no longer than the size of your laptop screen.
☑️ If you have created a 5 page memo for your clients, make it no more than a 2 pager.
☑️ If you are asked to deliver a presentation, deliver it it under 15 minutes. I know of few business clients who want to hear a lengthy presentation from a lawyer (I know that I don’t)😀.
If we communicate with too much complexity and legalese, we will simply lose the attention of our clients and they will tune us out.
However, when we do communicate with our clients, legal teammates and others, it is also important to overcommunicate and be redundant when needed to stress our key points – especially as we live in a digital first world where people are constantly multitasking and we are competing for the attention of our work colleagues.
When I have important points to stress to my clients and legal colleagues like “compliance is a non-negotiable” or “get the legal team involved early and often,” I may sound like a broken record. However, I’m also hoping that my repetition in communications in these key areas will be remembered, learned and embraced over time.
What are your best practices as an in-house counsel when you communicate with your clients?