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September 18, 2007

Lacking Confidence As a Solo? Sing Opera

I have often heard the phrase, "Get your clients to expect less then 'wow' them with so much more." While I understand underselling expectations and then blowing them away with your skills and five star customer service, part of me finds this a little dishonest as well as dangerous. Underselling expectations to clients can cost you clients because they may lose confidence in your abilities, maybe to the point of not hiring you. That doesn't mean you should oversell, either.  There is a middle ground.

But when it comes to opposing counsel, underselling your skills is not such a bad thing.  And it should be really easy too because you are going to feel a genuine lack of confidence as a new solo so you don't have to worry about being inauthentic; you are going to be honestly scared you won't be able to perform.  In this situation, though, it can work to your advantage.

When I had my first trial I was up against a major player who represented the defendant who happened to be a big shot at a Fortune 50 company. They called in all the big corporate honchos, etc. in front of a 'made famous through court tv' judge in a court room I was unfamiliar with. I started hyperventilating to the point I had to fake the stomach flu because I just couldn't perform. When I went back to the court room after a week's extension, I'm not sure they were expecting much of me at all. A slam dunk for the other side. Right? Everyone else was legend and I was, well, nobody.

With expectations low opposing counsel's guard was down and I got in my body blows and the knock out punch. How? Because while I may have been nervous in the courtroom at first I was very detailed and ridiculously thorough outside the courtroom. I was extremely well prepared and they just didn't see it coming...something a novice with no reputation can pull off.  And once the nerves wore off...I sung opera!

This video is meant to give all you new solos a shot of confidence....and teach you the value of being unassuming and underselling to opposing counsel....and Simon Cowell..if you happen to be on Britain's Got Talent. Enjoy.

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Comments

anonymous

Wow. I think you need to give us more warning. That performance made me cry. I would like to become half as good a lawyer as that guy sings.

StephanieWestAllen

That's a great video. Not sure if you have seen the other three of which this is a part? All are just as inspiring. They are at the bottom of this post from a while back. Here:

http://westallen.typepad.com/idealawg/2007/08/have-you-watche.html

Stephanie, never saw the update to your blog post. But LOVED the video clip of the horse...it made my heart sing!

StephanieWestAllen

Yes, I love the horse, too. I cried the first time I watched the video. I have had people tell me things like: "That horse makes me glad to be alive!" And not a few get tears in their eyes.

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