THE SKILLS OF COMMUNICATION

LISTEN
 
One of the constant compliments I receive from clients is that I am a good listener.  I believe an attorney cannot effectively and successfully serve a client without first learning what the client needs.  This can only happen through effective listening.  My own listening skills were greatly heightened many years ago by my involvement with the Stephen Ministry program.  After completing the intensive training for that program, I realized how ineffective a listener I had been prior to such training.  That experience taught me how to truly be focused on the individual I am communicating with, not just with what the person is saying, but with how the person is saying it.   
 
EXPLAIN
 
An attorney that has effectively listened to the client and understood their needs, desires and concerns, must then be able to effectively explain to the client the guidance and knowledge necessary to help them.  The law can be very complex.  A good attorney understands how to translate such complexity into information that the client will clearly understand.  
 
UNDERSTAND
 
Above all, an attorney must strive to truly understand, at a basic level, why the client has come to them for help.  Every service an attorney provides meets a need or desire much more basic than that of the service itself.  An estate plan often provides a deep sense of resolution that a family is protected.  The sale of a business can involve many different needs or desires, like the desire to have a less stressful life, or the desire to embark on a new adventure.  And certainly resolving a tax dispute or debt with the IRS answers many deeper desires and fears.  An attorney who understands these basic emotive drivers has a much better chance of fully and completely assisting their clients.