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Six Tips for Being More Persuasive

Written for attorneys by Gray Robinson, but applicable to all…

A large part of practicing law is persuading someone to believe, act or agree with your client’s position, whether in a courtroom or boardroom or at a negotiation or dinner table. We seek to persuade juries, judges, colleagues, friends, family or the media that we are right, and others are not. Following these six principles will help you be a more persuasive lawyer.

The Art of Being a More Persuasive Lawyer

There is an art and science to persuasion. Unfortunately, this art is not on the curriculum of many law schools. Several fundamental principles of persuasion are commonly suggested by psychologists and marketing experts. In the years I’ve spent researching how to persuade people and coaching lawyers to hone their skills, here are the six principles I’ve found most effective.

1. Acknowledge their efforts

We are often trying to persuade someone who has a bias against our position because they don’t understand, are confused, or simply tried and failed in their life. Failure has a way of closing minds, digging in heels and causing rigidity in thinking. When you encourage people to rise above their failures, they look to you for guidance.

As lawyers, we are not in the business of making people take responsibility for their lives — we are trying to persuade them. When you acknowledge the struggle of others and tell them you understand, they are much more open to your position. If you can demonstrate that you do not judge people for their struggles, they will be more likely to view you as a friend rather than a foe.

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