By Eleni Chalkidou, Director of Strategic Communications
If prospective clients have heard of your reputation and are now seeking you out for your “out of this world” legal skills, then yes, that’s probably right.
But if you believe that this is the reason they keep coming back for more, then sorry to pop your bubble, but that’s not likely to be the case.
Of course, there is a plethora of things that will influence why a client chooses to go back to a lawyer. Among these it is likely that convenience and proximity will play a part.
However, trusting the lawyer’s judgement, their approach and style of communication will most certainly be among the top facets; all of which are born out of the ability to show emotional intelligence.
But how does one “become” more in tune with their emotions so they can serve their clients needs in a more meaningful way?
Here is a top five list of where to start:
Increase your self-awareness
Allow the time it takes to reflect on your own emotions and how these may affect your behaviour and decision-making.
Result: Helps you identify and manage any biases or blind spots that may impact interactions with your client.
Practice being patient
If you can see that your client is going through a stressful time, this may mean that they need extra time and attention. Patience will allow you to pick up verbal and non-verbal cues.
Result: Willingness to be patient and hear their concerns and needs will make them see you are someone who really listens.
Get familiar with conflict resolution
Conflict is a common aspect in legal matters, and it’s vital to learn how to handle conflicts constructively.
Result: Learning techniques for negotiation, mediation, and other forms of conflict resolution will really help your clients and you to think more constructively.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and try to see things from their perspective.
Result: This will help you build rapport and trust, which is guaranteed to lead to a better relationship.
Develop your communication skills
Learn and practice how to express yourself clearly and concisely. Use language that is easily understood and avoid legalese, even if they are an in-house lawyer.
Result: This will help you avoid misunderstandings and build trust.
Finally, don’t be afraid to use all of the above when you seek feedback. It is daunting to find out that something wasn’t delivered as smoothly as you had hoped. Asking for feedback however, shows that you are willing to listen and that shows emotional intelligence, which is the sure path to better meeting your clients’ needs.