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Closing Arguments

The case for using lawyers' techniques in business.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the November 1998 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

When an attorney is in front of a jury, there's a lot at stake--which is why successful trial lawyers learn and develop techniques to effectively sway jurors. Now Noelle C. Nelson, author of Winning! Using Lawyers' Courtroom Techniques to Get Your Way in Everyday Situations (Prentice Hall Trade), explains how you can put their methods to work in your business:

*Establish credibility with your employees. Just as lawyers are careful about establishing their credibility from the minute they walk through the courtroom door, you need to prove your credibility to your employees. "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," says Nelson.

  • Make your employees your allies. "A lawyer works hard to create a relationship of trust with jurors, a feeling that they are in this together, that they are allies," says Nelson. "That's what you need to do with your employees."

Don't surrender your authority, says Nelson, but put yourself on the same side as your employees. "Bring them together and say `We have this project, this concern, a goal we need to accomplish. What's in the way?' " When they've identified the obstacles, they'll be ready to work on solutions.

  • Use a rousing theme. Appeal to your employees' emotions with a slogan or other appropriate message that will inspire them. "Rouse their hearts; then back it up with logic," says Nelson. "The logic empowers people, and when they're empowered, they'll work hard."

But is it manipulative? Not at all, says Nelson. "There is no need to manipulate when you come from a position of strength and openness."

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer in Winter Park, Florida.

Passing The Bucks

Offering referral bonuses can help you nab better employees.

With unemployment rates hitting rock bottom, you may be scrounging to find good, qualified employees. One idea: Offer cash bonuses as finders' fees. Rewarding your staff with bonuses for referring prospective employees offers a range of benefits, including potentially higher-caliber candidates, lower search costs and improved employee morale. If you're considering implementing a referral bonus program, law firm Wessels & Pautsch PC in St. Charles, Illinois, offers these tips:

  • Keep the program simple.
  • Avoid limiting referrals to certain employee groups or job categories.
  • Publicize the program among your employees on an ongoing basis. This will maintain their interest and keep them thinking about prospective candidates.
  • When determining the amount of the bonus, consider the level of the position and the fees you might have paid to an employment agency or a headhunter.
  • Be sure your employees understand what information (resume, employment application, referral card and so on) must accompany each referral.
  • Follow up every referral with a written response that lets the employee know the referral was received and appreciated.

Contact Source

Wessels & Pautsch PC, 2035 Foxfield Dr., St. Charles, IL 60174, (630) 377-1554

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