Month: August 2013

Clinical legal educationEthicsLaw practiceLegal communicationLegal skills

Trial lawyers: five key contexts for listening

Effective listening has universal themes, such as the role of focused attention. But much of listening is also context-specific. Listening in a public meeting is obviously different than in a one-on-one conversation.

Trial lawyers face at least five distinct listening contexts. Each presents different listening opportunities and challenges. Listen Like a Lawyer is grateful to share this Q&A on listening contexts with trial lawyer, mediator, and trial-advocacy instructor Jay D. Brownstein.

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LLL: Jay, thank you for your time. What do you think are the most important contexts that trial lawyers need to be thinking about when they think about their listening?

JDB: Generally speaking, there are several areas where trial lawyers need to effectively listen:

  • First, when speaking with potential and existing clients.
  • Second, in witness examination, both in deposition and at trial. As lawyers, we are often intent on covering a predetermined outline of topics and questions. But effective advocacy requires us to carefully listen and respond to what the witness is saying.
  • Third, communicating with judges at the trial and appellate level.
  • Fourth, communicating with juries. In voir dire, you listen intently to potential jurors’ answers, looking for clues as to their beliefs and predispositions. In trial, you must “listen” to nonverbal communication from jurors (as well as witnesses and the judge).
  • Fifth, mediation, an important tool for conflict resolution. It has become a necessary aspect of litigation and requires strong listening skillls.

LLL: What are the listening challenges in conversing with a potential client?

JDB: The initial client interview can be especially challenging because the client and attorney have somewhat different goals. The client wants to tell her entire story, while the lawyer is trying to quickly determine if the client has a case worthy of further exploration.

In telling their stories, clients usually don’t know what facts are important. They frequently spend time telling you things that may have little legal significance, while leaving out truly important details. The lawyer must carefully listen to what the potential client is saying (or not saying), but also guide the conversation to facts important to the legal claim analysis.

So there is a constant tension between allowing the client to talk (and being professional and courteous), and quickly learning the necessary facts to make a case determination.

LLL: How does the listening task change when your potential client becomes your actual client?

JDB:  Throughout a representation, it is critically important to maintain effective communication with your client, which always requires listening. Clients often try to tell us things that can be very important to a successful outcome of their case, although we may not always be receptive to it. For example, to effectively advocate pain and suffering in a personal injury case the trial lawyer needs to fully explore and come to understand how the client’s injuries have affected them.

In all cases, it is critically important to develop and maintain a relationship of trust with the client that can only occur through effective listening. If clients are to entrust us with their most important confidences—which can be crucial to achieving a successful result in their case—they must know that we are listening and trying to truly understand them and their circumstances.

LLL:​ I saw a statistic from one state’s court system that only 7 percent of cases go to trial. That means a lot of them settle, and the mediation process plays a major role in settlement. How can lawyers use listening to help their clients during mediation?

JDB:  Over the past 10-15 years, mediation has evolved to become the primary means of resolving cases short of a jury trial. Available statistics suggest that a high percentage of mediated cases settle either at mediation or shortly thereafter.  For example, the EEOC reports that in 2012 over 76% of its mediated cases settled within 100 days after mediation. For clients and their lawyers, mediation is often the last best chance for a certain resolution without putting their fates in the hands of strangers (juries and judges). Lawyers should not only prepare themselves for mediation as though preparing for trial (by reviewing all discovery, depositions, research on key legal issues, etc.), but they must also prepare their clients.

This preparation involves not only explaining the mediation process, but also listening and openly talking with clients about their expectations. It does little good to tell a client what she can expect in a mediation without also helping her to set goals and manage her own expectations. Listening plays a key role in this – you must first learn and understand how a client thinks before attempting to help modify that thinking and allow for the best chance of a successful mediation.

LLL:  If the dispute lasts long enough, at some point, the lawyer will take and defend depositions and eventually examine witnesses at trial. What do you think are the keys to effective listening in the context of witness testimony?

JDB:​  Particularly in early years of practice, many lawyers prepare for depositions and trial testimony by developing extensive witness outlines covering numerous topics and containing detailed questions (sometimes including the expected answers). But as trial lawyers well know, testimony never goes exactly as planned or scripted, especially in the case of direct testimony. Learning to get the witness talking, listening to what the witness actually says (as opposed to what we expect or hope to hear), and following up to the actual responses, is critical to effective examination. This is something that, like many experienced practitioners, I am constantly aware of and seeking to improve upon.

The more an examination, even cross examination, is like a true conversation with each side listening and responding to the other, the more effective you can be at eliciting key points (good and bad) you want the jury (or judge on summary judgment) to hear and remember. All witnesses can surprise and frustrate a trial lawyer; the key is to listen and understand what you can and can’t do with a witness.

LLL: For the trial lawyer, a very important audience is the trial judge. How can lawyers use listening to better understand the trial judge?

JDB:  All trial judges are busy with heavy case dockets, and appreciate brevity and clarity. On any given civil motions calendar there could be 40 to 50 cases. The judge needs to know what type of matter is before her (discovery motion, procedural issue, etc.), what she is being asked to do, and why. Judges will generally tell you what they need to understand or hear in order to issue a ruling.

The most skilled lawyers I have observed listen carefully to questions from the bench, whether directed to them or opposing counsel, and react by instantly tailoring their argument to the point or points the judge seems most interested in or confused by. Most importantly, the best lawyers don’t waste the court’s time with unnecessary argument. If a judge indicates, directly or indirectly, that they likely agree with you, acknowledge it and move on. If there is nothing further to say, stop talking and sit down.

LLL:When cases do go up on appeal, listening during oral argument is another intense experience. What are the listening challenges of oral argument, and how do you deal with them?

JDB:  ​In appellate advocacy, the same principals apply but with even greater force. Accomplished appellate lawyers say that the best appellate arguments are like living-room conversations, except that the advocate’s window of opportunity to persuade is narrow and can easily be lost if the lawyer does not carefully listen and directly respond to questions.

Usually, a question from the bench is much more than an opportunity to expound on an issue or portion of your prepared argument. It tells you exactly which part of your argument is most troubling to the court or to the particular judge with the question. And it gives you the chance (in 60 or 90 seconds) to persuade that judge, and perhaps others, to your position.

Preparation is key, as you must anticipate and be ready to immediately give your best response to a myriad of issues and related questions from the bench. But absent insightful listening, the chance to persuade will be lost.

Jay, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with Listen Like a Lawyer.

EthicsLaw practiceLegal communicationLegal skillsPeople skills

Profile of a great listener—and what lawyers can learn

“Listening well is a gift.” Malcolm Gladwell explores the gift—and curse—of listening in this BBC profile of Vietnam consultant Konrad Kellen. The profile has some fascinating and sad insights into 20th-century politics and war. But the main point is to explore Konrad Kellen’s abiding gift as a listener. Although Kellen’s work was in public policy, his listening gift has something to teach lawyers as well: he listened without a biased ear, and he listened to all the relevant information in forming his analysis.

Setting biases aside, or at least trying to

Kellen was effective as a listener primarily because he could set aside his biases. Gladwell describes Kellen’s rare ability to really understand field interviews with North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. He didn’t filter the information through a bias of predicting U.S. victory, as did other policymakers who ultimately carried the day.  This prevailing bias not only clouded policymakers’ understanding of the data but also blocked them from accepting what Kellen learned from really listening to the North Vietnamese.

Listening without bias is really crucial for good lawyering. Lawyers’ bias can interfere in many forms, from bias in favor of the client, to bias in favor of the status quo, to bias in favor of personal benefit or avoiding embarrassment or risk. Truly effective listening requires accurate and objective interpretation of the message being heard. In this way, effective listening is difficult to distinguish from critical thought itself.

Listening deeply and thoroughly

Related to Kellen’s lack of bias was his ability to listen to all of the information and then synthesize it. He didn’t stop listening when he heard what supported the prevailing view, as Gladwell describes his work with extensive North Vietnamese interview transcripts. And Kellen was able to interpret seemingly conflicting statements together in a way that produced a deep understanding of the subjects’ real mindset toward the war.

Likewise, lawyers certainly should listen comprehensively, recognizing the relationships among discrete bits of data within the message. The press for efficiency and the lure of confirmation bias both can interfere with effective listening. Although lawyers must work efficiently, effective listening also means listening thoroughly and persistently, at least well enough and long enough to be able to hear conflicting information when it exists.

The curse of effective listening?

Gladwell ultimately suggests that Kellen’s effective listening was something of a curse. Gladwell points out the “great irony” that “[t]he better listener you are, the less people want to listen to you.”

This idea of listening as a curse seems less applicable to lawyers. Of course, knowing something that others can’t or won’t appreciate—whether gleaned through listening or otherwise—is difficult. Most lawyers will probably face that situation during their careers.

But as a sweeping statement, it does not seem to ring true that lawyers who listen well are less likely to be listened to. Indeed, just the opposite seems more likely in the small-group dynamics common in law practice. By deeply listening to the messages that clients, judges, mediators, opposing parties, witnesses, and others provide, lawyers can make themselves far more effective when they do speak up for their clients.

Law practiceLegal communicationLegal skillsPeople skills

Judged by our listening

Effective listening is just one of many components of being effective, overall, as a communicator and as a professional. By being effective listeners, lawyers can improve how people perceive their overall communication effectiveness. Professor Neil Hamilton’s excellent law review article Effectiveness Requires Listening: How to Assess and Improve Listening Skills delves into some ideas on how this is so.

Professor Hamilton begins by noting the “exceptional opportunity” available to lawyers and law students who enhance their listening skills. Effective listening can assist students with academic performance and practicing lawyers with client relationships. Analytically, effective listening enhances problem solving and deepens understanding of a situation. Beyond that, it builds trust. So listening is a win-win-win: competitively, analytically, and relationally.

Next Hamilton quotes a study linking listening to overall effectiveness–not just in communication, but period: “[P]eople whom others perceive as the most effective individuals have strong listening skills” (citing Kerry Patterson et al., Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High (2002)). Patterson’s work revealed that managers judged as effective were able to encourage others to talk about high-stakes topics and to get all the issues out in the open. Part of their effectiveness was a product of  listening to various points of view before jumping into the fray.

This particularly passage in Hamilton’s article called to mind, for me, the work of Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, most recently collected in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York Times review here). Kahneman, along with Amos Tversky, found that people apply a wide variety of “cognitive heuristics”—in other words, psychological shortcuts—to guide their decision-making.

These heuristics play a particularly large role in making tough decisions involving many complex factors. For example, a lawyer might be afraid to put a client on the stand when that client has an admissible prior conviction because, the lawyer would justifiably think, the jury might substitute its overall complex decision about the facts of the case for the easier decision about whether the client was a worthy person, in light of the prior conviction.

So in the context of listening, what if people use listening as a heuristic for their judgments about someone’s effectiveness as a communicator? What if people use listening as a heuristic for judgments about someone’s effectiveness, period? Both could be true.

A speaker can observe a listener’s behavior and from the outward behavior form a judgment about that person’s listening. The judgment could be wrong; a distracted-looking person might actually be a better listener than someone who sits still but is really thinking about what to say next. Yet the outward behavior sends a message that nonetheless triggers a cascade of thoughts and judgments in the speaker’s mind.

Lawyers wishing to make a good impression with clients, judges, and others should keep this possibility in mind. By showing themselves to be good listeners, lawyers can likely ratchet up others’ beliefs about their overall effectiveness. Conversely, by appearing to be poor listeners, lawyers might be compromising more than they think. (Thus a lawyer’s slip in listening to a client might call for an immediate apology to try to counteract the client’s unfavorable judgment, which would likely be forming as quickly as a summer pop-up storm in Atlanta.)

There is something about listening that, I believe, makes it a particularly likely candidate to serve as a cognitive heuristic for effective communication. Speaking is the other significant component of interpersonal communication. (Let’s set aside writing for now.) Public speaking is notoriously difficult and intimidating. So even if a lawyer begins a presentation on a tentative note, the audience’s own experience might soften any judgment about the lawyer’s overall effectiveness. You may have heard someone described along these lines: “He’s not a great public speaker, but he does a good job.”

But listening is different. I have never heard someone say, “She’s a lousy listener, but overall she does a nice job.” Not being listened to provokes frustration if not anger. This would seem especially true for audiences with high expectations of being listened to, such as clients and judges.

And listening seems pretty to evaluate, therefore making it a good candidate for the cognitive heuristic called the “substitution effect,” or “attribute substitution.” Even if a client feels at a loss to evaluate a lawyer’s holistic legal acumen, that client can substitute an easier decision: does the client feel that the lawyer effectively listened?

Thus listening would seem to have all the ingredients of a heuristic in the making, especially for lawyers. This observation brings us back full circle to Hamilton’s article exhorting the value of effective listening: “[P]eople whom others perceive as the most effective individuals have strong listening skills.”

InterviewsLaw schoolPeople skillsUncategorized

Effective Listening During Callback Interviews

Last week Listen Like a Lawyer explored the process of effective listening during a job interview from preparation to thank-you note. Callbacks present some special listening opportunities and challenges. Here are some key points to keep in mind about effective listening during the callback process, courtesy of the Assistant Dean for Career Development at the University of Colorado Law School, Todd Rogers.

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  • Understand that the callback interview begins the moment the interview invitation is extended. If the invitation comes by phone be prepared to listen carefully to the options for interview date and time, and respond as quickly as you can—preferably on the spot. Also, be sure to ask all the relevant logistical questions, such as whom to ask for once you arrive at the office, and the identities of all the attorneys with whom you’ll meet.
  • If your invitation comes by email, consider calling to confirm your interest and to schedule a date and time. This simple gesture demonstrates your enthusiasm and gives you another opportunity to listen and learn potentially useful information.
  • When you arrive on site, realize that everyone you meet should be considered part of the interview process. Afford the same respect, and listening attention, to attorneys and support staff alike.
  • As a way to settle your nerves once the formal interviews begin, remember that you’ve already impressed the firm enough to make the initial cut. By relaxing, you will promote a “less interrogation, more conversation” atmosphere. The attorneys with whom you meet are more likely to form a favorable impression of candidates who project confidence and express genuine interest in their work.
  • A big part of projecting genuine interest is to ask good questions. Examples include questions that focus on the summer program and the attorneys’ experiences at the firm; avoid those involving money, hours worked, and distant events such as partnership decisions. Listen intently to the answers and ask meaningful follow-up questions.
  • You’ll also have an opportunity to demonstrate that you listened carefully during the initial interview. You can refer to tidbits of information you learned in the initial interview and asked follow-up questions, such as, “When I interviewed on campus, we spent a few minutes discussing the firm’s summer program.  Can you tell me more about how work is assigned to summer associates?”
  • As you listen to the answers, take mental notes. You’ll tap into this reserve later, as you write thank-you notes that incorporate details of the interviews, and as you weigh the pros of cons of employment offers.

Many thanks to Assistant Dean Rogers for sharing these thoughts. And good luck to all the law students handling interviews at every stage.

Law practiceLegal communicationLegal skillsPeople skillsUncategorized

Validating others by listening

Today the Farnam Street blog—which has a fascinating e-mail newsletter I highly recommend subscribing to—collected and released its top posts for July. One of them was “Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone.” The post is a summary and review of Robin Dreeke’s book It’s Not All About Me: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone.

This book looks like something this blog could explore again more fully in the future. For now, here’s what Farnam Street had to say about the book’s coverage of listening. It’s one of the best ways to build rapport by validating the person you’re talking to:

Just listening to someone can produce amazing results. Where we run into problems is keeping our own thoughts, ideas, and stories out of the conversation. [Quoting the book:] “True validation coupled with ego suspension means that you have no story to offer, that you are there simply to hear theirs.” And there is another benefit. When the focus is on the other person and we’re not anxious to tell our own story, we also tend to remember the details. We’re mindful.

InterviewsLaw schoolLegal educationPeople skills

Listening During Interviews: Advice for Law Students

A job interview presents a listening challenge: Of course you want to show you are a great listener, but it’s also important to talk. “Most impressive are interviewees who are able to enter into a dialogue with their interviewers,” advises a hiring attorney quoted in An Insider’s Guide to Interviewing: Insights from the Employer’s Perspective, available from the National Association for Law Placement here and probably from any law school’s career services office.

Real dialogue requires real listening, which takes preparation beforehand and execution during the interview. You can continue to reap the benefits of good listening with a thoughtful thank-you note afterwards as well.

1. Prime yourself to listen by preparing beforehand.

Listening is very difficult when the listener is confused or nervous. Interview preparation helps cut down on both of these problems.

To minimize confusion, study for the interview. Learn about the type of interview you are facing and what to expect. Review your own resume and make notes on experiences to highlight and themes about your work history and ambitions. Research the interviewer—the agency, firm, or organization, as well as the individual lawyers doing the interviewing, if possible.

To cut down on nervousness, make sure to take advantage of practice interviews. You can practice on your own as well: role-play questions and answers out loud. All of this preparation will help you listen more effectively in the real thing.

2. Eliminate distractions and use effective nonverbal behavior.

Distracting behavior is terrible because (1) it can actually distract you; and (2) it can make you look distracted—and therefore like a bad listener—even if you are neither.

Thus, don’t look at your phone during an interview. Ever. (Having a mortally ill family member might be the rare exception, with an up-front explanation to the interviewer on why the phone is necessary.)

Other objects besides phones can distract as well, from change in the pocket to a pen or corner of a leather folder. Practice interviews can help you identify and eliminate your potential distractions.

Conversely and on a more positive note, your nonverbal behavior can send a message that you are a fantastic listener. Particular cues consistent with effective listening include good eye contact and body posture. When you are listening, your body is likely to use these nonverbal cues on its own. But you can also help your listening by using the nonverbal cues to help yourself focus.

3. Have a conversation.

“Liking” is one of the crucial levers of persuasion listed in Robert Cialdini’s great book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (2006). Audiences are more likely to be persuaded by speakers that they like.

An extremely effective way to get someone to like you is to have a rewarding conversation with them. Good conversations generate positive feelings, advises Lydia Russo, Emory Law School’s Assistant Dean for Professional Development and Career Strategy:

“Doesn’t it feel good when you are sharing a story and the listener makes you feel like what you have to say matters? It’s the same in an interview. Do your best to convey that you are listening intently and genuinely – this makes the interviewer feel validated.”

Part of what makes a conversation effective is genuine, spontaneous responses, according to Daniel Diffley, a partner at Alston & Bird LLP and the chair of Alston’s Atlanta summer program. “At some point during interviews, I always try to give students the opportunity to ask questions of me, whether about the summer program or practice in general. And you can tell if they are not listening because they ask a question and then I answer it, and then they move on to an unrelated question.”

Diffley noted that the best listeners may use the interviewer’s answers as a chance to respond and ask more questions. “I’ve had some great interviews where I feel like I’m being interviewed,” he said. Effetive listeners also can use the flow of the conversation to smoothly work in their prepared talking points about their own experiences and interests, Diffley said.

4. Develop a framework for understanding the questions.

You are learning as you listen. Learning theory teaches us that we learn best when we already have a “schema” in place for understanding the new information. Basically that means you have a mental framework in place for how to think about the new information coming in.

Schemas help with learning new information in any form, including by listening. For example: as a first-year law student, your schema for understanding the law was probably not well developed yet, so listening to law school classes could be confusing at times. As a 2L or 3L, you should have a much stronger schema for comprehending and using legal information. (Caution: representative theoretical support on schema and listening comprehension can be found here.)

So in terms of job interviews, you can develop a schema for interviewing. Construct a mental framework for types of questions and conversations that take place in an interview. This does not mean a list of all possible questions that the interviewer could conceivably ask, but an overall framework of what an interviewer is after.

Here’s one nice breakdown of what employers are looking for, in documentation from the University of San Francisco Law School:

  • Can you do the job? (qualifications)
  • Will you do the job? (motivation)
  • Are you a good fit? (social skills)

This framework (or a similar way of thinking) should help you with listening and thinking during the interview. In particular, it should help you comprehend and formulate quicker, better responses to specific questions.

5. Listen to the interviewer’s words and actions.

The interviewer’s nonverbal behavior is sending you messages as well. Listen to them. As the Career Development Office at the UC Berkeley School of Law advises, “You should also ‘listen’ to body language. Be sensitive to cues of boredom or impatience.” If an interviewer indicates interest in a topic by leaning forward and making open gestures, then consider the cue to continue with more information about your point.

6. Listen to your inner speech too—but only if it helps.

 “Although most of us don’t like to admit it, we all carry on a stream of internal conversation with ourselves.” – Judi Brownell, Listening: Attitudes, Principles, and Skills 110 (4th ed. 2010).

It’s hard to listen when your brain is talking a mile a minute inside your head. Preparation can reduce some of these nerves, but inner speech will still be there. The trick is to use it to help you during the interview.

Inner speech sits at the intersection where listening and thinking come together.  Thus, it can help you “relate or link what you hear to your previous experiences,” as Brownell notes in her book. So in an interview, if your inner speech says, “She is asking about teamwork. Talk about the service trip!” then your inner speech is acting as your helper and advocate. Be thankful.

Inner speech can also help you “regulate or control your behavior as you reflect on the wisdom of your choices” (again from Brownell’s book). In a law school interview, your inner speech may say something like “You’ve been talking a lot. Try asking a question.” Again, here the inner speech is quite helpful.

But when your inner speech is too negative or too frequent, try to push it to the side and focus on the person and conversation right in front of you.

7. Follow up to show your listening–and your interest in the job.

Whether it’s in the form of a letter or an e-mail, your follow-up after the interview can reinforce your listening skills. Alston’s Diffley noted that follow-up notes are just “good form,” and can serve the further purpose of demonstrating your recall of the interview. He advises taking a few notes immediately after the interview to help with crafting a good follow-up.

In sum, effective listening can enhance your overall performance in a job interview in many ways. Good luck!

Law practicePeople skillsProfessional responsibilityUncategorized

What it sounded like at the bar exam

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This photo was taken at the Georgia bar exam in July 2013—but not much has changed in five years.

My own transition from the bar exam to law practice felt jarring. The solitude of studying and taking the exam gave way to a cacophony of interpersonal conversations. My listening “muscles” were atrophied, to say the least.

For those going immediately from the bar exam into practice–as well as those now headed into more job interviews–what strategies can they use to handle this transition? Mental rehearsal comes to mind: imagining situations involving in-depth listening and conversing, and then imagining specifics on what to do.

In the transition period, when new lawyers have a choice on how to communicate with family members, it might be worthwhile to replace some texting with phone calls, at least temporarily. (See this article from the Wall Street Journal on employees who keep in touch with parents throughout the work day by texting and chatting.)

It may be helpful to review a listening checklist (generally on preparing to listen or specifically for taking assignments) before going into a meeting or interview.

What other strategies could help new lawyers quickly “bridge the gap” to effective listening?

This post has been updated since it was originally published in August 2013.

Law practiceLegal communicationLegal skillsPeople skills

The richness of sound

Listening gets a bad rap. A famous statistic about listening is that people remember 30 percent of what they hear, 50 percent of what they see and hear, and 80 percent of what they do. This statistic may be unsupported or based on apocryphal sources, but the gist is consistent with the wisdom of Confucius: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Actually, the world of sound provides richer information than sight in many ways. Auditory guru Seth Horowitz outlines the comparative advantage of sound in his entertaining book The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind. As Horowitz writes, what we take in from sight is certainly a rich vein of information: “Vision is a relatively fast-acting sense that works slightly faster than our conscious recognition of what we see.” But sound outshines visual input in crucial ways:

By contrast, animals and humans can detect and respond to changes in sound that occur in less than a millionth of a second . . . It is this faster-than-thought auditory speed, with a wide range of tones and timbres that visual color cannot hope to match and greater flexibility than the chemical sensitivities of taste and smell, that lets sound underlie and drive a fantastic range of subconscious elements in the living organism.

The particular value of sound for lawyers may not seem apparent at first. Lawyers aren’t hunter-gatherers trying to sense the first rustle of an approaching predator. But the speed and richness of auditory input can help lawyers in many, many ways. Listening to a judge’s questions at oral argument, an advocate may develop a very quick sense of whether the question is friendly or hostile—indeed before the judge has even finished enough of the sentence to reveal its substantive content. In discussing a settlement offer with a client, the “wide range of tones and timbres” in the client’s voice can very quickly tell a lawyer if the client is excited or skeptical. And sounds that aren’t exactly words—humming and hawing and swallowing and nervous tapping—are auditory input that adds to the richness of a lawyer’s perception in any situation.

Understanding how quickly sound works on the brain should help lawyers better understand and manage reactions, both their own and others’. The richness of sound adds yet another argument in favor of sometimes foregoing the e-mail for a phone call. And when on that phone call, don’t give in to the temptation to tap out a quick e-mail. They will hear that tapping and start to form an impression—in less than a millionth of a second.

 

Thanks to Seth Horowitz for feedback on this post.