Negotiations and mediations are exercises in diplomacy. It’s an opportunity to bring opposing parties together so the language used needs to reflect that. The parties may have very harsh feelings towards each other but that doesn’t mean resolving the dispute isn’t worth a try. To reach that goal the right words need to be used.
It’s not always easy. Based on what you know about the case and your experience you may genuinely think the opposing party or attorney is a miserable $(%@!. But that doesn’t mean have to tell him or her that (besides, he or she probably already knows it).
As an article in Lifehack points out,
- Powerful, positive words can heal and uplift.
- What you say and how you say it may help bring the parties closer together.
- The wrong words can fuel negative emotions like hatred, fear, anger, frustration and resentment.
- Whether words are written or spoken, they can damage the prospects of any trust or understanding the parties may develop.
Communication is a two-way street. Reacting and responding to a situation with destructive words could put a quick end to settlement efforts. You need to have control, strength and integrity to express yourself in a positive way in difficult situations. It may be a good idea to stop and take a breath before speaking.
You need to use the right language not only with the opposing party and your client but also with yourself. Positive self talk about your ability to help your client reach a reasonable settlement and being positive about the prospects of a settlement can help you go in the right direction.
You may routinely use negative language internally without realizing it. Given the power of language to shape thoughts and emotions a change to more positive words may make a difference personally and professionally.
If you have a strong, active inner critic you have to consciously make a decision to ease up on yourself and interrupt this destructive habit. Think about,
- Would I say this to my best friend?
- Would I say this to someone I love?
- Can the situation making me feel so down on myself be changed?
- Am I taking positive steps towards feeling better?
- Does any good come from such negative self-criticism?
An out-of-control inner critic can reduce your self-esteem, your outlook on life, your energy levels, your relationships, your health and your ability to help your clients. If you find yourself in this situation, or heading towards it,
- Make a commitment to quit the negative self-talk.
- It may take time, perseverance, attention and strength to quit negative self-talk because it may be deeply ingrained, but it can be done.
- Like any problem, becoming aware of it is the key to stopping it. After becoming more aware that you are doing it, keep interrupting yourself to stop the habit.
On the other hand, positive words are good for your physical and mental health. Positive self-talk can,
- Increase your confidence,
- Improve your mood, and
- Lessen your stress.
As an attorney you know better than most the power of words. Why not use the right ones to not only help your client resolve a legal issue and put it behind them but also use the right ones on yourself to make your job and life easier and better?