Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rule #29: "Think First, Talk Second"

I learned this one the hard way . . . clients hanging on my every word; their future at stake.  Jurors, as well . . . watching to discern my true intentions. Am I a liar selling shoes or a truth teller with a righteous cause? Opposing counsel listens intently for signs of weakness, an admission, or a mistake which might give them the advantage. 

Mostly, I'm talking on the run, thinking on my feet, responding to the most recent volley from an opponent. Which words do I choose? Which tone of voice . . . quick words or slow?  How do I utter them with sincerity, compassion, indignation? What is needed at that precise moment to achieve my purpose? Well, I've got to think about it first. 

Law school teaches you none of this. Only the trenches helped train me to think about each word and its effect in the moment just before release. Only the trenches taught me to practice my delivery in my mind . . . just before the hearer hears. The hard way, my mistakes, taught me the way.

I train my people to think like this. It's difficult, it's unnatural, they don't like to do it. But it's necessary. I train my people to think about their words before they make a sound. It can be the difference between making a sale, or losing a client. The difference between maintaining credibility or losing it, or promising too much.

It's necessary . . . it's Gustitis' Rule #29. Think before you speak. You'll never regret it. 

No comments: