Nancy Myrland All Posts, Client Service and Retention 9 Comments

I had the joy of spending a day with my 9-year old nephew, Isaiah, this week. My brother, Frank, who is a talented public speaker and wealth manager, was on a swing through Florida to see a few of his clients.  This was Isaiah’s week to go on a business trip with his Daddy.  I love that.

Isaiah and Frank have great lessons to teach us.  Please read on.

Isaiah was a magnet at every event they attended. From receptions to meetings, everyone fell in love with him, but not just because he’s so cute. You see, he has outstanding interpersonal skills that take adults by surprise.

Last week, they attended a reception for two hours with the heads of a major Indiana university.  The situation that took place next is worth sharing.

A man at the reception walked up to Isaiah, who was the only child in the room, and reached out his hand and said,

“What’s your name?”

Isaiah shook his hand, looked him in the eyes, and said,


The kind gentleman said,

”It’s nice to meet you,”

to which Isaiah smiled and replied the same.  Isaiah’s new friend said,

“I sure wish more young people would do what you just did.”

He then described the importance of eye contact, a firm and polite handshake, and the ability to directly engage with someone.  Frank said they all agreed, sadly, that this has become very rare.

What my brother told me next is VERY important to all of us as adults.

“It was certainly a proud moment for me as a Dad.  In case anyone wants to know our secret…we practice.  We practice meeting new people, shaking hands, smiling, saying ‘Nice to meet you,’ etc.  When the kids do it well, we reinforce it.  When they don’t, we remind them.”

“A few years ago while taking Nora (his daughter, my adorable niece) to a conference, I made a deal with her.  She got a nickel every time she met someone, and could then tell me the color of their eyes after the introduction.”

The skills mentioned above might sound simple, and you might even think that adults already know all of this, but I assure you, not all are comfortable engaging people like Isaiah.

Not only is this connection critical in developing a positive first impression, but it is also important in nurturing and solidifying our relationships with our clients and potential clients.  These are all non-verbal methods of communication we send every time we interact with another human being.

I call that marketing, and I call it very important.

Thanks for the lesson Isaiah.  Nice job Frank.  I’m proud of both of you.

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Comments 9


  2. Nancy,

    You’ve written another great post. It is important to remember that everyone you meet deserves a handshake, a look in the eye, and an authentic, “Nice to meet you.” It may sound simple, but a firm handshake goes a long way.

  3. Post

    Thanks Rosalie. You are very kind. Yes, everyone does deserve a handshake. It’s also important to shake the whole hand, not just fingers. Shaking the hand, and looking at someone’s face, is often the first connection we are able to make, so we should try to make it a meaningful one.

  4. Post

    Thanks Mimi. I enjoyed hearing Frank and Isaiah tell the story, then to find out how they reinforce these skills at home. I wish I could have been there to watch the interaction. 🙂

  5. Excellent post, Nancy! It’s an important reminder what we might consider the most elementary rules of behavior are not intuitive, but must be learned. And, as you implied, the takeaway for every law firm or other business is that the greatest marketing in the world can’t help overcome a bad first impression.

    I can tell that Isaiah will go far in life. Through this post, he has already begun teaching people much older than himself.

  6. Post

    Thanks for your kind words Phil! Yes, Isaiah will go far in life. He has two of the best parents I’ve ever met. I know I’m a bit partial as they are my brother and sister-in-law, but they have given their children a very firm foundation upon which to develop and flourish. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. What a great education Isaiah and his sister are getting. They are already learning how to network and how to treat clients by observation and instruction, before anyone has any expectations of them. There are so many young lawyers who get all the way through 19 years of school without getting that kind of opportunity. I bet by the time Isaiah is 10 he will have some tools for starting or enhancing a conversation, too! What a smart and loving dad.

  8. Post

    Hi Debra! Yes, Isaiah and Nora, and their brother Daniel, are very luck indeed. They have great parents who believe in connecting with other human beings, not only professionally, but as kind, caring human beings. The promising thought is that all of these skills are teachable if people would just reach out and humbly ask. Thanks for your comment.

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