December 22, 2015
Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of lifestyle posts for overworked attorneys, sponsored by the Firm Central practice management free trial program.
Your reception area is your firm’s first opportunity to make your clients feel welcomed, comfortable, and confident in their choice of attorneys. In feng shui we say that environment mirrors consciousness. Hence, your space reflects your personality, your integrity, and the value of your services. While thinking about the unique message you want your reception area to convey, follow these common-sense rules of good feng shui:
- Post signage in the hallway and on the door. Make your name clear and easy to read. If other law firms occupy the building, include your specialty in the signage.
- Say “Welcome,” whether on a doormat or a small sign on the reception desk, especially if a receptionist is not always present to greet your clients during the workday.
- Choose a reception desk with a defined front to stop energy flowing from the doorway and to create a boundary between the public and private areas of the office. Your receptionist’s feet, briefcase, and similar items should not be visible to prospective clients entering the office.
- Have a coat rack or coat closet available, especially in cold climates.
- Offer comfortable seating with all of your clients in mind—provide children’s seating and a small play area for a family law firm, or sturdy chairs with armrests if you routinely work with seniors.
- Supply reading material that is current and topical.
- Add healthy live plants to soften corners and to supply oxygen, energy, and life to a transitional and often quiet space.
- Display awards or commendations, as well as artwork that you and your colleagues select to represent the firm.
- Place a small fountain with a soft gurgle in the space if your building allows. An aquarium also works well. A water element will relax and focus your waiting clients. Whatever accoutrement you choose, keep it fastidiously clean.
- Add a rug to hardwood or tile floors to dampen sound, warm the space, and slow the energy. This also relaxes waiting clients.
- Keep the space well organized and uncluttered. A tidy space will telegraph your work ethic.
Tell your firm’s story with the décor, paint, furniture, and accessories in your reception lobby. An environmental law firm might create an accent wall with a mural of the rainforest and furnish their space with bamboo tables and chairs. A firm specializing in business law might feature a Wall of Fame with photos of clients’ products and services.
When you use feng shui to create a reception area that expresses who you are and the value you provide, you’ll make a meaningful first impression.