by Miguel Figueredo
As part of our training as Callagy Law client liaisons, we learned about developing emotional rapport with our clients. When I heard this, I could not help but recognize how similar this was to bartending. I did not think any of the skills I learned as a bartender would transfer to my new job as a client liaison at the firm, but developing rapport was something I knew about.
Mixing a good drink is only the beginning of a bartender’s skills. As with any other job, bartending requires a certain basic skill level appropriate for the job. With bartending that basic skill is the ability to make a drink your customers will want and enjoy. The real expertise in bartending, though, lies in a bartender’s ability to connect with the patrons. For the most part, drinks from one bar to the next are not going to be very different. Very little often distinguishes one bartender’s drink-making ability from another’s. The difference between wanting to drink at one locale versus another commonly comes down to which bar/bartender makes you most comfortable.
I was always considered to be a fairly sociable person, and I put it to good use as a bartender, connecting with complete strangers through a quick chat or a few probing but welcomed questions. I liked the idea of using my social skills in support of my job, and so, I always enjoyed my role as bartender.
Now, as a client liaison, I need to employ that same skill—developing rapport with my client base. I want my clients to relate to me the way a bar patron relates to a great bartender. Obviously being a liaison requires skills and activity way beyond just being a good listener for someone intoxicated or on the way to being intoxicated, but the one aspect of rapport is similar. A client liaison at our firm is expected to greatly assist medical providers in so many substantive ways. Knowledge, experience, focus diligence, responsiveness are all incredibly important. But all of those things should be part of a package that is surrounded by a deep and meaningful rapport.
It is a challenge, but, I must say, I was a pretty good bartender.