Thoughts on Lawyers Communicating Better

Effective communication occurs when both a client and an attorney listen to and understand each other. This requires a balance between talking and listening that is not achieved in every conversation.  There are legions of books, articles, broadcasts, seminars, and programs designed to improve the effectives of direct communication. While the following list is not exhaustive, the following half dozen thoughts on communicating better may help improve the quality of direct communication between a client and his or her attorney:

1. Care enough to work on being a good listener so you will listen, truly listen. This does take a lot of effort and energy. According to Steven Covey, most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, most of us listen with the intent to reply. The only way to maximize the relevancy of any reply is to first listen well.

2. Don’t Multi-task – Simply by present and pay attention. No texting, no thinking about other matters, no checking your phone. Focus on the human being with whom you are interacting.

3. Use open ended questions – Questions like “Will you tell me more about that?” invites additional thought and a more informative response.

4. Go with the flow – Don’t force an agenda of what you want to say next. It is quite difficult to concentrate on an important point you want to make and also listen at the same time.

5. If you don’t know something say so – Honesty is the best policy.

6. Don’t equate the other person’s experience with another person’s experience – For example, as you hear a person’s story, don’t respond by talking about how many time you’ve heard this story before. Appreciate the unique and personal aspects of a person’s experience.

People make a difference. If you have legal questions, the experienced lawyers at Lemons, Grundy & Eisenberg are available for consultation.