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Employing Lawyer's Tactics In The Workplace

Lawyers have the power of persuasion-find out how to use it in your business.

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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," Nelson says, "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."

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