Law Firm Content Strategy: Take Your Presentations Beyond Lectures Into Engaging Narratives

by ON24


The power of narrative for business is increasingly seen as key for truly connecting with customers and audiences. John Hagel, co-chairman for Deloitte LLP’s Center for the Edge, wrote last year that, sadly, few companies, aside from those like Apple and Nike, have gotten it right. 

Hagel writes: 

At their most fundamental level, narratives answer three questions:

  • Why are we here?
  • What can we accomplish?
  • How should we connect in order to accomplish this?

To be clear, the “we” in these questions is primarily about the people the narrative is trying to reach, not the individual or company crafting the narrative.

This concept is instructive when crafting your firm's content. For example, webinars may have started out as online lectures, but increasing audiences want not just interaction, they want to see themselves in the story, in the content. This is what provokes genuine engagement.

“This could happen to my company. How I am going to handle it if it does?”

There are a few simple ways to add elements of relationship-building narrative into your presentations. 

1. Begin With a Story 

This can be a hypothetical, an anonymized anecdote from an attorney’s practice, or a recent news story. Instead of a slide detailing learning outcomes, hook your audience with an opening scene, a piece of narrative that allows the audience member to see him or herself in the story. You are effectively encouraging your audience to enter into your program with this mindset: “This could happen to my company. How I am going to handle it if it does?”

2. Develop a Narrative Arc 

Think of setting (business context), characters (companies and their leaders), plot (the company’s current direction), conflict (legal issues or challenges faced), and resolution (solutions that characters create for themselves, depending on what’s right for them at the time). This story isn’t about the author (the presenter); it’s about the characters—those attending your program.

3. Be Willing to Play the Omniscient Narrator 

Writing instructor Ginny Wiehardt describes the omniscient narrator this way: “The third-person omniscient point of view is a method of storytelling in which the narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters in the story, as opposed to third-person limited, which adheres closely to one character's -- usually the main character's -- perspective.” The key is having the presenter take into account the views of all the characters, not just a single character, which unfortunately is sometimes the presenter him or herself. 

4. Engage Your Characters 

Come back frequently to the scenario with which you opened your program. Relate information you’ve conveyed back to those characters, that anecdote or hypothetical. This encourages active mental participation in the content you are sharing, and shows an audience what your perspective is and the importance of focusing on the client in the story, all of which helps build relationship. 

5. Resist a Tidy Ending 

Children’s stories and fairy tales have tiding endings, but few other successful literary works do. You want your audience coming back for more. There are likely no easy answers to the issues presented in your webinar; if there were, there would be no need for your program.

Enter into your audience’s mindset and understand and appreciate the uncertainty they face. That’s the way to develop a loyal following. 


[Samantha McKenna is a Regional Vice President, Sales at ON24Connect with her LinkedIn to learn how webinars can supercharge your firm's content efforts.]

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