Every November the Austin office of the Akin Gump Law Firm hosts a unique event which I think is brilliant. They rent out a movie theatre and invite all their clients, prospects and friends of the firm who have young children. They show a hot new kids movie, and provide all the children (and their parents) with all the popcorn, soda and candy that they can eat. They also have a professional photographer on hand to take family portraits and pass out toys to all the smiling children.
Throughout the year I am invited to hundreds of business events. Sometimes my wife is asked to join in the fun....but this is the ONLY gathering that includes my kids. My daughters look forward to this all year long, as their dad can be cheap when attending a movie, and the visit to the concession stand always has strict budget constraints. Not today. The Akin Gump lawyers and staff were there to encourage the kids to get whatever they want. "Popcorn AND Candy?...wow, dad would never allow that!" proclaimed my four-year- old daughter last year. This year, at age five, she is an old pro and eating herself into a sugar high.
This year's private screening was of Dustin Hoffman's and Natalie Portman's new movie, Mr. Majorium's Wonder Emporium. The movie has a great message for the kids about following your heart inside and letting your internal sparkle unleash the magic of your potential to follow your dreams.
This message rings true for law firms and other businesses. Let you colors shine. Jason Bateman's character, Henry, starts off the movie dressed all in grey. Too often I think that grey takes over our business persona's. Throughout the movie as he opens his soul and begins to wear more color. While a metaphor, I think the grey takes over our world when we take ourselves too seriously. We need to have vivid colors in our lives to excel.
Akin Gump continues to have this annual event at full capacity, and the same familiar faces of friends from the business community, with their entire family in tow, return year after year. This is a wonderful chance for the lawyers in the firm to socialize with clients on a different level. Relationships are not built by sending a bill. True relationships are built by sharing experiences. I often talk about this annual "family movie day" when I speak and train at other firms, but I do not think that many understand the power of these types of events. Most law firms do not "get it". They continue to act like every other firm.
How about your law firm or company? Do you look for unique ways to interact with those who are important? Or is your company holiday card the only way you reach out?
Think of it this way....what if you competition was doing fabulous events for clients, prospects and other VIP's in our business community? Would you be happy that they were having great bonding experiences while you were mailing a holiday card with a gold embossed signature? How do you know they are not???
The opportunities are there for you to be amazing. Rise to the opportunity.
Have A Great Day.
**** Are you looking for a great gift to give to business associates, clients or other business friends? How about a book! Yes, one of my books. "Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships" or "The ABC's of Networking" make great gifts. You can get them on Amazon.com or through Barnes & Noble. If you want to order in bulk, contact me directly. Thanks. thom