Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

12 Surprising Ways You Might Be Driving Clients Away

Who would’ve ever thought that being too nice could be a turn-off for some clients?

Or that how you shake hands could blow your chance of landing the case – even before you’ve said a word?

And yet, those are two ways clients size up potential lawyers.

It’s not hard to make someone dislike you, whether you’re interacting online or in real life,” writes Shana Lebowitz for Business Insider.

In her article, Lebowitz cites a number of things you might not even be aware you’re doing that can repel people. Such as posting a profile photo on LinkedIn that shows too much of your face. For each item on the list she cites a scientific study that backs up the assertion.

From Sweating to Shaking: Avoid These 12 Behaviors

“Generally speaking, you’ve only got a few seconds to make someone want to spend more time with you,” writes Shana Lebowitz for Business Insider. “And in those precious few seconds, everything matters - from your last name to the smell of your sweat.”

  1. The behavior: Posting a LinkedIn photo that’s too close-up. The science: Faces photographed from 18 inches away were deemed by test subjects as less trustworthy and attractive than mugs shot from 54 inches away.
  1. The behavior: Disclosing personal information too early in the relationship. The science: This can make you seem insecure, say researchers at Illinois State University.
  1. The behavior: Asking all the questions. The science: Not reciprocating by letting the other person question you will turn an interaction into an interrogation, according to this article in the Journal of Experimental Social Science.
  1. The behavior: Hiding your emotions. The science: Though spilling your guts in a client interview is not a good idea, displaying appropriate emotional responses will make you appear more understanding and empathetic.
  1. The behavior: Acting too nice. The science: In a game scenario, test subjects were less likely to choose teammates who were viewed as too unselfish and altruistic, according to this study reported in the Harvard Business Review.
  1. The behavior: Humble-bragging. The science: People don’t like it when you uses self-criticism as a subtle way of boasting, as researchers discovered here.
  1. The behavior: Stress-induced sweating that produces an odor. The science: Keep the deodorant handy, say the experts at the Monell Chemical Senses Center.
  1. The behavior: Not smiling. The science: Researchers at Stanford University found that a happy facial expression pays off in person – and in your online photos.
  1. The behavior: Posting too many photos on Facebook. The science: This 2013 paper from Birmingham Business School suggests over-sharing on social media could be counterproductive in real life. Friends don’t like it when you post too many family photos, and family doesn’t like it when you highlight your friends.
  1. The behavior: Putting a smiley-face emoticon in an email or text. The science: It makes a poor first impression, according to this study.
  1. The behavior: Name-dropping. The science: Not only is it bad form – and possibly unethical – to brag about all your powerful connection, but it will also make people dislike you, as this report shows.
  1. The behavior: Having a weak handshake. The science: A firm grip displays confidence and positivity, according to Psychology Today and this University of Alabama study.


What behaviors would you add to this list?



About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

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