Law PractitionersLaw StudentsPersuasion Skills for Lawyers

November 18, 20200
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IS LOQUACIOUS TALKING YOUR CUP OF TEA?

“Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible.”

Aristotle

Law is one of the most envied professions because of the huge incentives it offers but thought should also be given to the fact that ginormous amounts of effort are put in convincing people and also influencing their behaviour and thought processes. Convincing people is not a walk in the garden, and one needs to master the art of persuasion. It does not entail the skill of forcing or creating undue pressure but instead demands a tectonic change in the beliefs and mindsets of the people. The persuasion skills of a lawyer put life into his/her argument. A lawyer having the knack for persuasion and manipulation will go to places.

THE SEMANTICS OF LANGUAGE BEHAVIOUR

One of the colossal contributing factors in becoming more persuasive is practice. As a law student, you have extra-curricular opportunities that can stretch your communication skills and give it the required polishing it needs. For example, many university students enjoy the tussle of mooting or the brainstorming sessions of strenuous debates. One should consider this a mini practice activity in persuasion where participants are given a hypothetical court hearing, analyze a problem, and present a solution. Debating and mock trialing are other popular ways to flex your argumentative muscles.

‘Confidence’, a word that either sends chills down a person’s spine or either can make him or her rule the roost. Some people are born with it, some have to work for it, and others do not know how to obtain it. It is something either one has or does not but can always be accomplished over time. A glaring point to be illustrated is that communication is conveyed unconsciously through a person’s body language as well. This can give away a person’s true feelings, whether to a witness, defendant, client, or another legal professional. Controlling one’s body language can help reinforce the persuasiveness of your message. Being comfortable in one’s skin is the key to achievement and enjoyment in life, so the secret ingredient is to start with some confidence.

The below stated course is very effective and helpful in gradually increasing the scathed confidence of individuals and help them see eye to eye with conviction. It enables individuals to gingerly go great guns with confidence. It addresses all the apprehensions and dubiousness choking the healthy mind and depressing the spirits. From the comfort of home, an individual with tarnished confidence levels can turn the tables and devote his/her time to hone an essential skill.

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Understanding people’s motivations are also very important. If you think about how you can pre-empt their objections, you can prepare solutions and build them into your argument. This can be very important in such an analytical profession and is far more important when speaking than writing.

“The authors of the book Blind Spot: The Hidden Biases of Good People argue that between 80% to 90% of our mind works unconsciously.”[1] Taking a look at the bigger picture and outlining the shady areas of behavior and speech in a person’s personality will help throw into light the red flags of the future. Understanding another person’s motivations includes considering what they are deliberately not sharing, as well as what may be unconsciously influencing them. One needs to ask more questions and think critically about the people he/she encounters. It is paramount and obligatory to ask them questions but simultaneously one should exercise his or her judgmental capabilities. Ask yourself questions like:

What are the possible reasons, positive and negative, why this person is behaving in this way? What reputation have they earned with me (or with others) in the past that I can put this recent act into context with? In the past who else do I know that has behaved this way? What did their intentions turn out to be?[2]

In the quest of finding the answers to these vexing questions, a person will naturally stimulate the virtuosity of his or her own deeper judgment.

Lawyers are advocates. Yet, while advocating, many often forget to listen. When attempting to influence and persuade others, listening to the other party is crucial. It’s important to listen carefully. Actively listen with an open mind and try to understand their message. Repeat your understanding of the message through paraphrasing. Be open and candid with them and let them communicate freely with you.  Also, pay a great deal of attention to reading the environment and pick up on the mood or concern of the individuals or audience.

CONCLUSION

All in all, the artistry of persuasion and conviction is not a game that cannot be learned overnight. It is also not a game that can be played by adhering to all the rules available. It is a game of wit and wisdom, of speech and manipulation. It is a toxic cocktail of powerful eye contact coupled with staunch oratory skills. Remember to stand up straight, make eye contact, and smile. These signals project confidence and energy and will assist you in becoming a more effective influencer and persuader. Remember that understanding self-awareness is the first step to effectively persuade and influence others, and ultimately setting yourself up for success.

REFERENCES-

[1] Seth, R. (2019, February 20). Six ways to understand other people’s motivations and achieve your own goals. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/90304469/six-ways-to-understand-other-peoples-motivations-and-achieve-your-own-goals#:%7E:text=Understanding%20another%20person’s%20motivations%20includes,understand%20their%20motivations%20for%20giving.

[2] Berkun, S. (2017, November 21). How can you know someone’s true motives? Scott Berkun. https://scottberkun.com/2017/how-can-you-know-someones-true-motives/

CITE THIS WORK

Legal Maxim (November 26, 2020) Persuasion Skills for Lawyers. Retrieved from https://www.legalmaxim.in/persuasion-skills-for-lawyers/.
Persuasion Skills for Lawyers.” Legal Maxim – November 26, 2020, https://www.legalmaxim.in/persuasion-skills-for-lawyers/
Legal Maxim November 18, 2020 Persuasion Skills for Lawyers., viewed November 26, 2020,<https://www.legalmaxim.in/persuasion-skills-for-lawyers/>
Legal Maxim – Persuasion Skills for Lawyers. [Internet]. [Accessed November 26, 2020]. Available from: https://www.legalmaxim.in/persuasion-skills-for-lawyers/
Persuasion Skills for Lawyers.” Legal Maxim – Accessed November 26, 2020. https://www.legalmaxim.in/persuasion-skills-for-lawyers/
Persuasion Skills for Lawyers.” Legal Maxim [Online]. Available: https://www.legalmaxim.in/persuasion-skills-for-lawyers/. [Accessed: November 26, 2020]
AUTHOR DETAILS
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Name: Gauri Singh

Affiliation: Associate Editor, Legal Maxim | LLB candidate at Durham University, UK

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