reading people
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This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho.

As a lawyer, one very valuable skill you can develop is that of reading people. 

You cannot read people’s mind, but you can do something very close to that.

Most of you have experienced something like this in your life – when you are so connected to another person that you can feel what they might be feeling, guess their next move, and you can even finish each other’s sentences.

Consider that you could have that level of connection with a person who you are negotiating with, or the judge, or even a client. 

I will tell you the science of how that is achieved. 

If you think it is a trick – of observing some gesture of hand or change in facial expression to detect lies etc – that is not the point. That’s not how you create this level of heightened connection where you can anticipate what another person may be feeling, thinking or going to do. 

Such connections do not only let you read the other person, but even they can read you and understand you, without words. 

This is not magic or telepathy. This is nonverbal communication, that each human being has access to. 

All it takes is that you shut off your internal dialogue, that is always going on in your head, and therefore be able to pay more attention to the person before you, so that you are entirely focussed on processing the cues you pick up from him.

Our ancestors had not developed a sophisticated language millions of years back, but they relied on this kind of communication to survive and connect with their herd. 

We all have inherited a very powerful ability to process nonverbal cues of another human being, and when you learn to use these abilities, it will look incredible and supernatural to another untrained person.

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Cross-examination – very often, lawyers think that they will use some verbal trick or tricky questions to trap a witness while doing cross-examination. In reality, the best lawyers well known for cross-examination may not be tough on the witness at all, they are very friendly and build up a quick rapport with the witness. And it is as if they can predict the answer before they ask a question. And they can decide on the spot what question to ask and what not.

These lawyers are not only listening to the content of what the witness says. They observe everything, including how the witness walks from the back of the room to the witness stand, and how they stand, and how they react to a question. And they can establish a level of non-verbal communication with the witness that puts the witness at ease and the witness feels respected and safe and wants to answer their questions. 

Negotiation – good negotiators are great at building rapport with the other side very fast, and they can understand the true intention of the other side and can gauge the response to various proposals even before spelling them out. Many chalks up this ability to experience, whereas it really comes from their highly developed nonverbal communication skills. 

Understanding judges – If your work involves representing your client in the court on a daily basis, this non-verbal communication skill can come quite handy in knowing what to say and when to say it in front of the judge. How is the mood of the judge today? Will he respond to serious logic or to some light humour today? Should you keep your submission long or short? Understanding the judge will serve to make you more competent as a lawyer.

Do you want to develop this skill?

Unfortunately, law schools teach nothing about these extremely important skills. This is just one, by the way, there are many other very essential skills that can transform your performance as a lawyer or law student, and nobody will even talk about them.

At LawSikho, we ensure that we blend in these critical skills in our various exercises, apart from hardcore legal skills. We even have an entire course on legal communication skills, which you can fiend here. In this course, we have a specific focus on teaching non-verbal communication skills including exercises! 

Check out our courses that begin on 15th June over here (you can enrol and start studying today itself): 

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Diploma in M&A, Institutional Finance and Investment Laws (PE and VC transactions)

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Certificate Course in Real Estate Laws

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Certificate Course in Media and Entertainment Law: Contracts, Licensing and Regulations

To your success.

P. S. All our premium courses are covered under an unwavering 45 days full money-back guarantee

After taking a course, if you feel like it is not working out for you, maybe you are not getting enough value out of it or it is not meeting your expectations, just get in touch with us. We will refund every rupee you paid for the course.

No questions asked, as long as the minimum requirements of the refund policy are fulfilled.


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