As a Massachusetts OUI lawyer, when someone hires me to defend their OUI charge, my primary task is to find a way to communicate to the jury that they were not under the influence of alcohol, to find a theory that challenges the officer’s observations so that the jury returns a verdict of not guilty. In preparing for trial, I typically practice my opening and closing countless times with the goal of making my argument, interesting and persuasive. Just as professional athletes all have coaches, in this Blog I want to discuss a lecture that I have listened to several times and find extremely valuable.
As a trial lawyer, my job is in communication and to improve those skills I look to experts in the field. Recently, I listened to an excellent lecture from John Maxwell that I purchased in the Success Magazine online store.
John C. Maxwell is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and pastor who focuses primarily on leadership. His lecture “Everyone Communicates Few Connect begins by addressing how it is difficult to communicate effectively and be understood in today’s world. There is a lot of noise and distractions, especially with the rise of technology. However, it is absolutely necessary to connect with people to aptly influence and persuade them.
This is applicable because for successful leadership, there must be persuasive influence in order to have a strong connection. However, connecting with people is not always an easy task. It must be approached in the right manner and successfully followed through until the end. In order to make the process of forming a connection easy to understand, Maxwell breaks it down into five clearly defined principles:
1. Connecting increases your influence
2. Connecting is all about others
3. Connecting goes beyond words
4. Connecting requires energy
5. Connecting is more a skill than a natural talent
All of these principles are consistent with Maxwell’s value-based approach. Once these are in place, he goes into more detail:
Maxwell goes on to explain how these principles are applicable to a variety of situations
and settings vary depending on the situation at hand. They can be applicable to the environment, number of people, and more. He also goes onto talk about social media’s significant impact on modern-day communication. People now no longer have to solely rely on face-face communication. With the rise of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. communication has become much more complex. Maxwell speaks of lots of different stories and anecdote and successfully applies these strategies depending on the situation. Some argue that Maxwell’s principle can be too simple. However, the easier people can follow these principles, the more successful they will be.
As Maxwell states, having a strong connection is essential to any form of communication. While Maxwell’s teachings are aimed at the business community, his advice on communication and connection are valuable to all criminal trial lawyers and in particular OUI lawyers in Massachusetts, looking to effectively lead and influence six individuals toward a verdict of not guilty. The joy of being a trial lawyer is that few jobs in today’s society depend so heavily on being able to tell another’s story persuasively to a group to influence the group to action.
John Maxwell is one of many excellent teachers lawyers can learn from in order to improve communication skills. Another great teacher for trial lawyers in Gerry Spence, who runs a Trial College dedicated to assisting lawyers persuade juries. If you find this blog interesting, feel free to share it, connect with me on Facebook or Linkin and I would be happy to discuss other books I have read that help with communicating with juries.