🌠 Why “bottom lining” is the conversation technique you need as a lawyer
|Sep 2, 2020|
If you’re talking shop with a fellow GC, legal lingo is often the best route for getting things done. But your company’s executive and other employees don’t want to hear -- or have the time to hear -- about respondeat superior.
In a blog post for TechGC, Marqeta chief legal officer Seth Weissman explained a few strategies for business communications as a lawyer with, well, everyone else. He calls it “bottom lining,” and here’s a breakdown of some of the most important tips:
The definition of bottom lining: Weissman describes it as distilling “a narrative down to the core elements necessary to have the listener understand what you are conveying.” If you’re bottom lining, then you’re not going on a long tangent with unrelated or unnecessary facts. You’re also not skipping over important details.
One good way to ensure you’re bottom lining: It may seem elementary, but Weissman recommends thinking of the who, what, where, when and how. Those are the details people instinctively seek, even with legal issues.
Skip the machinations: Weissman notes that clients and executives often don’t care about understanding the strategies you took to reach a conclusion. Just give them the bottom line and then add more if they ask for it.
Another good tip for improving your skills
A 2014 story about the legal terms you should remove from your writing has been making the rounds on ABA Journal. Check it out here for some good pointers.