How to tame your inner lawyer in order to be an effective/empathetic communicator #writinglegally

Posted on 07-22-2015 by
Tags: writinglegally , legal writing , Upgrading Your Skills , #writinglegally

Lawyers are there to help you with any legal crisis. While their intentions may be good, the way they communicate, may not be as effective. According to Wisbar, here are 3 steps to tame your inner lawyer and be an effective and empathetic communicator:

1. Be An Assertive Communicator

Many lawyers have one way of communication and they try to apply it to various situations. This will lead to mixed results. Try following the CASE model:

  • Communicate the facts
  • Address your concerns in an objective way
  • Specify concrete actions
  • Evaluate solutions

2. Build More Empathy

Empathy is the ability to know how another person is feeling. Clients often contact lawyers in times of crisis so being able to empathize with them is crucial. Psychologist Daniel Goleman says there are three types of empathy.

  • Cognitive Empathy: ability to understand how another person thinks and to see that person’s point of view.

  • Emotional Empathy: ability to feel the emotions of the person you are with.

  • Empathetic Concern: you not only understand how the person sees things in the moment but also have the desire to help the person if you sense the need.


3. Respond the Right Way to Others’ Good News

There are four different response styles, however only one actually builds relationships. Here they are:

  • Passive Constructive. You offer distracted, understated support, which kills the conversation. This type of response leaves the sharer of good news feeling misunderstood and unimportant.
  • Passive Destructive. You one-up the person, ignore his good news, or take over the conversation and make it about you.
  • Active Destructive. You take a negative focus when the person shares good news. Lawyers need to be particularly careful about this style because we are trained to find the “what could go wrong” in a scenario. This style leaves the sharer feeling angry and even embarrassed.

  • Active Constructive. This is the only style of response to good news that builds relationships. You help the person relive the good news by showing authentic interest and asking questions. This style actually benefits both the sharer and the responder because it generates positive emotions.

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