Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) incorporates many elements to help lawyers operate more smoothly and effectively.
One of the legal beagle's most useful assets is making a good impression, and quickly. Building trust is vital, as is good rapport and attentiveness to communication. In the courtroom, a barrister may need to give support to his or her client and will need to appear confident without alienating with over-confidence.
Juries are notoriously swayed by their emotions and many a court case has been lost when a barrister has misjudged their cross examination of a plaintiff or defendant, only to have the jury side with them against what they see as bullying tactics.
The ability to read and respond to body language, give out body language to reassure, build trust or give out a particular unspoken message can be extremely useful and influential, as is the ability to persuade. All these skills are taught in the NLP Practitioner course, as are some of the tell-tale signs of lying.
These are some of the soft skills of NLP. There are also more incisive ones, such as the ability to know how to use language that conveys a specific message to persuade, engage and influence.
For example, at the beginning of this article you will have noticed the use of the following phrases:
making a good impression
building trust is vital
attentiveness to communication.
Each of these phrases will have spoken directly to you, and may well have caused you to create a scenario in your mind to fit each phrase. The fact is however, that these phrases were chosen to be deliberately vague in order to feel as if they were speaking directly to you. In each case information is missing.
For example, “making a good impression” is missing all sorts of detail. You might ask “on whom?” or “for what purpose?” or “in what scenario?”. Again, in the second phrase, who is building trust with whom and why is it “vital”? In fact, what does it mean to be “vital”?
The final example, “attentiveness to communication” is exactly what NLP teaches. It helps you to use language to speak to all manner of people, but at the same time to identify what information is missing (possibly deliberately) from information you have been given. This is where the NLP Meta-model comes in, which shows you how to identify what information you are missing. In the court room this can be used to powerful effect.
These are just a few examples of how you can use NLP to improve communication and effectiveness in the courtroom or in the solicitor's office. NLP is a powerful tool that can really help win that case.