If you want to persuade someone, you don’t do it with judgment. You don’t do it with fury, or even anger. You don’t do it with the strength of your conviction, or the weight of your emotion. Most of the time, these things have no authority over those we wish to convince. You persuade with credibility. 

We’ve talked about credibility before. It’s the bedrock of a win in the courtroom. Credible evidence wins cases. The reason it does so is because the jury finds credible evidence persuasive. If you want people to find you persuasive, you have to be credible too. 

That means you persuade with empathy. When you understand your opponent’s perspective, you can find persuasion that will most resonate with him. You persuade with stillness, and time for your argument to ring true. You persuade with logic and stories that make your adversary feel emotion. Persuasion is not about you–it’s about them. 

TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO PERSUADE. If you are a leader, a mother, a father, a salesperson, a lover, a friend or anyone who provides a service, you need to know how to persuade.  When winning means winning someone over to your point of view, judgment, violence and insistence rarely work. I promise if you focus on empathy, stillness and the other’s perspective, you’ll come much closer to victory.

How will you persuade today?

8 thoughts on “TRIAL DAY 29–TRY TO PERSUADE

  1. How will you persuade today?
    This is hard. I have nothing to persuade today. I do have to persuade a school to participate in a program I am going to launch.

    Hey. Now it’s two hours later. I unexpectedly persuaded! Here’s how:
    My client had 2 questions – one philosophical and one practical. The questions are concerning a complex and overwhelming issue that he has been putting off for over a year, and I have been trying to persuade him to tackle.

    In retrospect, I can see that my goal was threefold:
    1) to arouse the questions that needed to be answered to get him where he wanted to be;
    2) discover where he wanted to be and why;
    3) for him to come up with a plan to get there.

    My tactic right off the top was the following:
    Though the practical response would depend on the philosophical response, I started with the practical one. Even deeper than that, I started with a practical choice that he had sort of committed to, but also would for sure rebut. WHY? Because it would arouse all the questions I would need to ask, but wouldn’t think of!

    And BOOM! I didn’t even get the colors of the scenario out of the paint box when he was off and running. But this, if that, and why this? I thus came up with intermittent questions that would guide him to #’s 2 and 3, where he wanted to be and a plan to get there.

    In summary, I hadn’t a clue or a vision where I wanted this to go. My intent was to persuade him to do what he wants most to do, for the reason he wanted to do it, and step by step exactly how he wants go about it. It was 100% discovery on his part.

    I never said a persuasive word. I rode the wave the whole time. I was completely attentive and taking notes. Along the way, I guided him by understanding him and reflecting the main points while knowing and focusing on my threefold goal.

    The conclusion was perfect — fit like a glove. He’s as happy as he can be. Not only that, I have more work, which is a fun and amazing project. It just rolled out of the outcome.

    1. THis is outstanding! Chavah you have been such a fabulous participant in this challenge. I thank you with all of my heart.

  2. This is a very interesting topic given the current situation with the US Senate’s confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, and the allegations of Christine Ford. The American public have heard both of them plead their case. And, as you have stated, “You persuade with credibility.” Some people find Ford credible, some people find Kavanaugh credible. So, what is the answer here? For me, we live in America and a person is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. By definition an allegation is an assertion that someone has done something wrong, typically without proof. So without any proof, just her repressed memories, the Senate would be doing Mr. Kavanaugh a grave injustice by not confirming him to the Supreme Court.

    This brings up another question that no one has asked, “Are repressed memories real or imagined?”


    1. I don’t think her memory was repressed. She just didn’t share it.
      Credibility is always subjective. When I watch mock juries deliberate, I’m always struck by the difference of opinion. Jurors are like all of us–different life experience brings them to different conclusions. But working together, talking it out, persuading one another with questions and empathy and patience, they come to a conclusion. We should all be so good!

  3. Hi Dan I suppose we could start a whole new 178 debate over this but maybe Heather will clarify ONE question. Is it or is it not a court of law? This hearing to my knowledge isn’t where something must be proved beyond and to exclusion of reasonable doubt because BOTH can’t carry that threshold. I think and we’ll wait for Heather, it’s about one thing, “believability”. Do you totally believe her and/or him? She’s not up for a job, he is. I don’t 100% believe him. Do I think his “sins” are the end of the world, nope (unless he did hold his hand over her mouth to prevent her from leaving the room) but we are only talking about simple HS believability and I don’t believe his 4F and Trigangke explanation. Heck everyone who hit puberty knows what 4F means especially if you wrote it in your yearbook! Is that the criteria to not get appointed, lying, then next up?

  4. Seems after thinking about this awhile, I come into a conversation opened minded and can be pursuaided if the other person is smarter than me and after I researched their claim and confirmed it.
    Now how do I pursuaided others? I guess the same way. In recent years because of **FAKE.NEWS ** and such, I’m pretty much a skeptic of way too much. Even researching is tough because much is “opinion” rather than fact and getting to fact is often difficult and very time consuming but that’s how I pursuaide, I present proof and try to present it as the only way of getting to the real truth.

    1. This is why I always quote other’s books rather than my own opinions! You often say I should use my opinions….it’s a tough call and as a lawyer I tend to be all about the proof.

  5. Heather, it has been a tremendous pleasure responding to your thoughtful and important questions. I will miss them, and therefore come up with something stimulating to maintain. I wish you exceptional success with your book, your consulting, ant your legal profession. it seems you have taken it all to another level. Thank you for engaging me and all of us.

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