A quick, friendly email explaining you are busy and need an extension, or can’t make a call is better than no response at all. A CLE coordinator has deadlines that have to be met. Advertising needs to be written and mailed, emails need to be sent, AV requests made, books completed. The questions the CLE coordinator is seeking answers to are normally simple; can I have your bio, will you have a Powerpoint, do you need a hotel room. If you can’t answer perhaps you can have your secretary send an email.
Written materials are hard for most faculty, they get busy and run out of time. All the same, the book needs to be completed and the materials need to be good. After all it isn’t only the CLE organization’s name on the materials; yours are too. Do your best to get materials in within a reasonable time period of the coordinator’s deadline. If you need more time ask. Materials and advertising are two of the most stressful parts for a coordinator in getting a CLE seminar completed.
Pay attention to the information the CLE coordinator provides you about time, date, location, hotels and other information.
On the day of the seminar be there when the coordinator asked you to arrive. If you are going to be late simply contact the coordinator and let him or her know.
Keep your expenses reasonable. Most CLE organizations will cover hotel costs, transportation and meals. Many CLE organizations are non-profits and simply cannot afford high expenses.
Ask for speaking tips
As far as speaking, not everyone is a gifted speaker. Good CLE coordinators know this. If your first speech isn’t great, a good coordinator should be willing to sit down with you and discuss your evaluations. This is assuming that your problem wasn’t a lack of preparation or knowledge on your topic. There is no cure for those two failures but to not invite you back.
Ask the CLE coordinator ahead of time for speaking tips. Talk to speakers you know do a good job. Consider trying to get out from behind the podium and away from the Powerpoint. Reading your notes or slides is deadly. Never, never do a sales pitch of any kind; if you are seeking referrals and do a good job showing your knowledge the referrals will come. If on the other hand you push your firm it will simply offend the attorneys in the audience who will write bad evaluations which will upset your coordinator who won’t invite you back.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Ellis is the Vice President and a consultant with Freedman Consulting, which assists law firms with a full range of issues, including such things as strategic planning, client development, project management, technology, and more, on the business side of the practice. She spends a substantial amount of time on issues involving social media, including law firm marketing and evidence collection and preservation. Previously, Jennifer served as Associate Director of Media Technologies with the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. Jennifer is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. You may reach Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter and Facebook.