I am in a funk. Two weeks in a trial and now I need to decompress, so I am back to reading a book I bought by John Maxwell on communication. Actually it is not about communication – it is about connecting. As lawyers we need to connect with jurors; with clients, and with our family members. That connection comes at a price – in a way – but the result of connecting is a wonderful and more meaningful life.
So while I recoup, regroup and get back to running too many miles and swimming too many laps – I really urge you to pick up a copy of Maxwell’s book and dig in. It is easy reading, even for lawyers.
Let me just share one idea from the book. Maxwell says that before we can get what we want, we have to meet the needs of the other person. So with a client for example, we have to identify their needs and meet them first if we are to really interact with them and advance their interests. Same goes for our children, wives, husbands and – well – you get the picture.
To win at trial we need to do more than talk. We need to connect. We have to identify the jury’s needs and figure out a way to meet their needs. For example – jurors often express a need to "do the right thing" while also "protecting the community." As trial lawyers we have to develop a case that allows them to feel good about both, so that they can help us. We need to connect.
So grab a copy and get going.