Almost all of the lawyers I interview for their bios or practice descriptions want good or better-than-good results. It’s just that some are simply not wired or are otherwise determined not to relax.
Which is, in my experience, not helpful.
Oh, well. A stiff, preoccupied or tentative interview subject is better than no subject at all.
No matter how they’re predisposed, I do my best to help them relax. The results can be amazing.
I learned this when I was scripting a corporate anniversary video a while back. This was for an international manufacturer based in the US and owned by a Japanese holding company. I had prepped the corporate communication person who, in turn, had prepped her boss, the US company’s CEO.
He was, of course, a very bright fellow. And, he was board-room-ready.
The good news was that he was prepared. The bad news was that he was prepared.
Mind you, not horrible news. He gave bright, coherent, strategically practiced responses to my questions. I just wanted more — more life, more engagement, and so on.
So, I tried something. I said, “You’re from New York City, right?”
“Mets or Yankees?”
It’s as if someone hit his Thaw button. Without missing a beat, he and I doubled back to a couple of key issues, and he simply and naturally talked. He came across beautifully and totally on message.
Then, I relaxed.