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Persuading By Opening Our Hearts To Others

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Will Rogers would have been a great trial lawyer. He never met a person he did not like, and had a very optimistic disposition.

By contrast, when I entered law school, I saw a significant chunk of the world’s population as ready in a heartbeat to do rotten and bigoted things. I tended to see a lot of life in troubling shades of gray at best (here is how I handle it now).

Love is a big focus at the Trial Lawyers College. When I went to hear Wayne Dyer live for the first time, last year, he emphasized that love and fear cannot exist simultaneously in one person, which is a critical counterpoint to the Trial Lawyers College’s focus on being persuasively loving at all turns while also recognizing, revealing, embracing and taming our fears.

Two days ago, I thought about, and posted on Twitter: “We persuade better by seeing the basic good in people, even when they do rotten things, and when we open our hearts to all.” Lo and behold, later that day I received in my email the Fairfax Mindfulness Community’s summer newsletter in which Any Huoung — a niece of Thich Nhat Hanh — proclaims “Without love, we wilt.”

By now, I know that love is not something to be reserved for romance and family, and friends. I know that love is not some touchy-feely thing. It is what makes us strong, fulfilled, and feeling like complete humans.

So many people thirst for love, for recognition, and for appreciation. If we sincerely give that to them, watch what happens. If we deny them it, watch what happens, as well.

For so many years in my earlier life, I focused very heavily on the cerebral aspects of life — perhaps to avoid facing my true self, perhaps not — and on human excellence. Clearly, being truly loving and opening one’s heart is part of reaching human excellence.

When I enter the fighting arena — whether it be the courtroom or anywhere else — with fists already clenched, and with fully-loaded tanks and mortar guns at my sides, everyone around me will tense up and barely hear my words. When I enter the fighting arena with compassion and caring for myself, my clients and all others, I am more likely to be heard, rather than having those around me focusing instead on preparing themselves against a possible assault from me. I still have my weapons at the ready, but I have them to fight the battle effectively as needed, and not to stiffen others’ thought processes to the point that they do not hear me.

When I open my heart to others, they will be more open to me. The magic mirror takes hold.

It is easier said than done to walk into the courtroom with one’s weapons sheathed rather than unholstered to be ready for any backstabbing from one’s opponents. However, once a lawyer is masterful at immediately unsheathing and unholstering his or her weapons at the drop of a dime when needed, s/he will be all the more effective at persuading without needing to do the unsheathing and unholstering, because those around the lawyer will recognize his or her power, and will not see him or her as any weaker for not showing his or her weapons at the get go.