Communicating includes listening. Communicating with your clients, partners, other colleagues, other lawyers, potential clients etc., includes listening to them. Since communicating is a relationship skill, when you improve your listening, you will improve your professional and personal relationships. How does that sound?

David Winter, a successful plaintiff’s lawyer in metropolitan Detroit and a friend of mine, shared some of his advice on listening this week. Like the #1 rule for losing weight, Dave’s 5 rules for listening are simple but not easy.

“Let’s get one thing straight, listening isn’t waiting for the other person to stop talking so we can provide a rebuttal. Listening is understanding, interpreting, and paying attention to what is said. The pathway to successful listening is outlined by five rules. Learn and practice them and your career as a lawyer will become a much more rewarding experience, professionally, personally and financially.

The rules I follow are:

  • Listen to why something is important to the speaker.
  • Confirm you understand the speaker’s true meaning.
  • Ask for explanations, don’t assume.
  • Don’t offer opinions.
  • Edit out internal responses.”

Learn and use these rules in 2011. Notice what happens.  If you would like coaching on your professional relationships, please contact me.