When an attorney is in front of a jury, there is a lot at stake, which is why successful trial lawyers know how to purposely and effectively sway jurors. You can put the techniques they use to work in your own business. Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., author of Winning! Using Lawyer’s Courtroom Techniques to Get Your Way in Everyday Situations (Prentice Hall; released in paperback as Get Your Way) explains the steps:
1. Establish credibility with your employees. Just as lawyers are careful to establish their credibility from the minute they walk through the door of the courtroom, you need to show your credibility with your employees by “walking your talk.” If you want your employees to be professional, come in on time, and respect certain ways of doing things, then you have to do that, too.
2. Make employees your allies. Certainly a trial is an adversarial situation, but the conflict is between the two sides, not between attorneys and juries. “Lawyers may point the finger all day at the other guy in court, but they sure don’t do that to the jurors. Because the jurors are the ones who make the decision, not the other guy,” says Nelson. “A lawyer works hard to create a relationship of trust with jurors, a feeling that we are in this together, we are allies. That’s what you need to do with your employees.” Approach issues from an allied, not adversarial, position. Don”t surrender your authority, but put yourself on the same side as your employees. Bring them together, and say, “We have this project, we have this concern, we have a goal we need to accomplish. What’s in the way?” When they have identified the obstacles, they will be ready to work on solutions.
3. Use a rousing theme. Appeal to emotions with a theme that’s relative to the issue; come up with a slogan or other appropriate message that will inspire people. Who can forget Fig “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” from the OJ Simpson criminal trial? “Make it specific to the issue, but something around which people can coalesce, look up to, and hold in their minds,” Nelson says. “Rouse their hearts, then back it up with logic. The logic empowers people, and when they’re empowered, they’ll work hard.”
But is using these techniques manipulative? Not at all, says Nelson. “Good lawyers aren’t manipulative. They put it right out there for the jurors. They tell them what they want and why. There is no need to manipulate when you come from a position of strength and openness.”
Jacquelyn Lynn is the editor of Flashpoints newsletter. Flashpoints is a comprehensive information resource for business owners and managers who want to take their operation to the Flashpoint. Visit [http://www.theflashpoints.com] to sign up for a free subscription to Flashpoints newsletter plus an extra free gift: The Mindset of High Achievers by JK Harris and Jacquelyn Lynn.