You’re standing in front of the jury. Are you attempting to communicate to your client’s story to the audience? Are you mentally and emotionally present in the room you’re describing to your audience? Do you believe you’ve connected to the anxiety caused by your client’s sleepless nights? Are you capable of taking your audience into the grief of a father when he says goodbye to his little girl for the last time? Do you know exactly what that hospital room he is sitting in looks like, smells like, sounds like, feels like to this man?
“Being there” is a belief system. You’re there because you believe it. And once you believe it, then who else will believe it with you? You guessed it. Your audience. It’s the belief in what you’re communicating to your audience that makes the story come alive. But let’s take it one giant step further.
The downfall of most “communicators” is that they focus on the details of what they’re saying rather than connecting to the powerful emotional state lying underneath those details.
You must understand that seeing the story is not enough… you gotta believe in it. Every detail. Moment to moment. And it’s the belief in what you’re saying that turns your story into a great story. The Winning Story. And the greatest way to find it in them is to find it in you. Everything, and I mean, absolutely everything you need to deliver the winning story to your audience is in you.
Try this: go back to a time in your life where you felt genuinely excited for something. What was it, and more importantly what did it feel like? Did you get goose pimples? Butterflies? A burning fire in your belly? Repeat… what did it feel like?
Great communication is a physical experience.
The problem is we’ve made it more of a mental experience. It’s time to reverse that thinking and get out of your head because it’s doing absolutely nothing for you. If you go back to the time in your life where I asked you to define a time when you were genuinely excited for something, an “acute peak passion moment,” I’ll bet there was some level of fear attached to getting “it,” whatever that “it” was.
The girl, the role, the job, the life change… You took a leap or at least had the desire to take the leap to overcome that fear. That’s what I’m asking you to be willing to do. Go back to a time in your life where you felt this. Maybe you feel it right now. Try to strip away the circumstances and just focus on the feeling. Where is the feeling in your body? How does this feeling affect your breathing? This feeling is called your Emotional State.
The most effective and celebrated lawyers are the ones who genuinely allow themselves to get excited about the story they’re communicating to the jury. In doing so, they avoid the dreaded dog-n’-pony show because they love to tell this story. Why? Because it feels good to tell it. It feels good to be able to communicate on behalf of their client and deliver the justice their client deserves. It feels good to tell their audience about their client and how they’re not the victims some other lawyer might try to make you believe.
Call it what you will, but I call it passion.
It might make you uncomfortable to hear this, but your passion begins with being willing to take a closer look at the areas of your own life that are creating blocks for you—anger, fear, depression, denial… etc. Perhaps looking at those painful areas as genuine gifts may be too tall of an order for you right now, but the key question is whether you are at least willing to look at them in a different way. If so, you’re already doing the work. This is the work you and your clients must be willing to do if you want to tell the winning story, the same work I’m asking you to ask your clients to do.
PASSION. It’s a scary word, especially in the courtroom. It’s scary because it means you’re operating out of a deep need and desire to communicate something. But true passion comes from a place that is greater than your own thinking. This is called “the greater story.”
There is nothing more terrifying or sexy than the truth. The truth is the ultimate turn on. The truth sets you free. And you know the truth when you feel it. Why? Because it’s impossible to not know the truth without feeling it deeply in your body. We all have something we hold to be true. What’s deeply true for you? Look in your body, your storytelling instrument, and ask that question.
When you tell the truth, and live in a place of truth, your body responds to help you tell your story more authentically. Your words fall into place. Your energy changes. As a result, people listen. The truth means a lot of different things to people. To say “live a truthful life” may sound highfalutin and may scare you, but I’m not asking you to ignore or necessarily get rid of your pain. Pain is inevitable and extremely necessary. I’m asking you to be open minded enough to be able to use your pain. Not just in effective storytelling and communication, but in your own life. hat’s where real passion begins.
Keeping The Channel Open To Connect To Passion
There is not a second in life where we’re not communicating. We learn to communicate the instant we blink into consciousness on this planet. Along the way, we develop the tools to be able to articulate what it is we want, and what it is we don’t want. Children become masters at communicating what it is they want and don’t want at a very early age.
Somewhere along the way, we lose our ability to effectively communicate what it is we want and don’t want, not because we necessarily forget about what it is we want and don’t want, but because the connection to our deepest and most truest part of ourselves gets cut off. Maintaining the connection becomes the challenge. So the question isn’t necessarily how effective do you want your communication to be, but how emotionally open are we to even be able to deliver that message? All of us have within us a greater power, greater potential, a greater story… all of us. It’s not for the elite few. All of us. The challenge is keeping that channel open and to keep it fresh.
Let’s just go with the obvious: all passion for communicating something can only come from within. Finding passion outside of yourself is like trying to find someone to feel sorry for you. Why would you want to do that? The truth is that the power of great communication comes from ourselves. Accessing that passion using it to you advantage is the obstacle as well as your greatest opportunity.
The fear of feeling and accessing your emotional intelligence.
The work in “Tell The Winning Story” addresses how to get our heads and hearts around the forces that really drive our thinking and our behavior—the part of the iceberg under the water. I look forward to sharing more of this experience with you in person at my upcoming 3 day seminar in September. Check the link below for details.
Working With You And Your Team
I’d love to discuss working with you and your team on your next case. Please feel free to give me a call. Among the pre-trial and jury trial consulting that I share, here are other ways to benefit from Tell The Winning Story:
- Law Firm CLE Customized Workshops
- Executive Silver/ Gold/ Platinum Coaching Programs
- Monthly CLE Accredited Workshops