lawzmag.comHave the power to influence others? As a lawyer, you already have the tools. All you need to do is sharpen it. Between two telephone instruments what is that connects them? – The wire. Between two people what is that connects? – words.

Over time and usage words have been stringed and unified together to form sentences, specific idioms, phrases resulting in mental images. Be it in the written or spoken form. Therefore the magic is somewhere in the language and how it is used to communicate. All the legal documents you draft and the presentations you make in front of the judge are dependent solely on it.

To influence others you need to cultivate the following:

Speak assertively. Do not be negative in your approach nor be derogatory. Do not harbor feelings of inadequacy about yourself.

Be candid. A little openness tends to open the other person too. Successful interaction demands some honesty and sincerity.

Be Flexible. Mentally try to avoid prejudices and fixed ideas. Flexibility means opening the mind’s windows to new approaches. Responses may not always be what you expected but think of the possible advantages that can be derived before rejecting anything. A lot of people start their sentences with “NO!…..”. It is the best example of a bad communicator.

Show confidence. If you are certain about your point and yourself, then why not show it?

Ask questions. When you are disagreeing, instead of squarely denying the other person’s voicings, perhaps it would be nicer to question him about it. Putting your objection in a question makes it more palatable.

Make eye contact. Nothing impresses your true worth as eye contact. No great influence can be achieved with shifting eyes.

Nothing impresses your true worth as eye contact.

Stand up or sit tall. There is no need to overbear, but slouching cannot create any good impressions either.

Limit your gestures. They can be very distracting. Use the minimum of stylish movements to emphasize.

What is your face saying? Are you sure that your expressions are saying the same thing as your words are?

Maintain a running tempo. Too many hops and stops can be totally disastrous. Come to the point and do so clearly. And don’t wait. When the right time has come, don’t let it slip away. Don’t be in a hurry to blurt out either. Learn to bide your time.

Focus on the content. Think before you speak. Once the words are out, there is little that can be done to correct a bad presentation. And, more important, do not go on and on when you have made the right point and the listener is satisfied.

Last but the most important: listen well and carefully. Very few people really ever listen. Most of us think about what we are going to say rather than pay attention to the other party. Either we do not register anything at all, or because we register in bits and pieces, we end up by misunderstanding totally. Sometimes so totally that we may have a grossly opposite picture, which as you know, can make or break a case.

A lot of people start their sentences with “NO!…..”.

It is the best example of a bad communicator.

– Prof. Pradeep Kumar Maheshwari 

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