One of the main problems with social media — and, often, writing in general — is that it can be hard to tell what sort of tone or meaning the author intended. The most innocuous comment — or at least the comment you thought was perfectly innocent — can start a virtual riot online.
Humor is particularly dangerous. How do you tell if something was supposed to be funny? Just because you howled with laughter or screamed with outrage doesn’t mean the writer expected that reaction. Much of the funniest stuff online was put there by serious people.
With that in mind, I direct your attention to a legal blog that appeared last week with this headline: “Four Ways to Wow Your Small Business Clients.”
You be the judge: Useful advice or deadpan humor?
Bear in mind that these four things are supposed to “wow” clients. Imagine them being wowed.
Way one: “Embrace the business.” Yes, your client will be deeply impressed that you know what kind of business they’re in.
Way two: “Don’t lend money.” Your client will be astonished by your self-restraint.
Way three: “Understand entity selection.” The explanation for this item is that you’re supposed to know what kind of corporate or partnership structure the client should have. Imagine how amazed the client will be that you know something about what you’ve been hired for.
Way four (my favorite): “Remember where you are.” Clients hate it when their lawyers get lost.
I, of course, have my own tips for wowing clients.
Way one: “Dress to impress.” Thigh-high alligator-skin boots and a peacock feather boa accenting tie-dyed sharkskin slacks and a chartreuse silk dress shirt with ruffles should wow just about any client, not to mention opposing counsel. A gold-plated walking stick is a nice touch too.
Way two: “Amazing feats of strength.” Bench press a secretary, two associates, and a copy of Black’s Law Dictionary.
Way three: “Wine and dine.” Treat your client to an intimate dinner at your office catered by a world-class chef and an expert sommelier. A tasteful string quartet at tableside should add to the ambience.
When the client has had enough wine, they’ll agree to anything.
Way four: “Dramatic reading.” Recite Portia’s courtroom speech from the “The Merchant of Venice” from memory. Your client will be both wowed and educated at the same time.
Way five: “Remind the client where they are.” Pull out a map and point.
Favorite news story sentence of the week: “The Pentagon refused to release the dog’s name, saying it was classified because the animal was still on duty in the war zone.”
You wouldn’t want his family to become a terrorist target.
Second favorite news story sentence of the week: “President Trump on Wednesday shared an altered photograph of himself placing a medal around the neck of the dog injured in the raid last weekend that led to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s leader.”
I’m guessing they faked the photo just in case the hero declined the White House invitation.