Credibility And Creativity Win

When it comes to advocating, credibility and creativity win. They are just 2 of the 5 Cs of an Advocate and they are powerful. One of my clients just called to tell me she used them to win a promotion and a raise.

This woman had read my book, The Elegant Warrior, and she wanted to start using her voice to advocate for herself and her ideas. She hired me to work with her, and we decided to focus on credibility and creativity. So we identified her “jury”–the people who would decide whether she’d get the promotion. Then we used my 7x7w process to create a message that would speak directly to that jury.

Next, we got to work on credibility. The root of the word credibility is belief, and she had to believe in herself first. So we set expectations and met them, and she made herself promises and kept them. And then we were off to the races. We used my Win/Lose/Weird formula to take the body of evidence available to her and use it to credibly argue for the promotion and the raise.

And she got it. She just called me, over the moon with excitement. She got the raise, and she got the promotion. What she also got is more confidence in herself. She got more permission to advocate for herself, and more validation that no one could do it better than she could. She advocated, and she won. Because credibility and creativity win.

You can do the same. Call me if you want to get started.

Heather Hansen

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Learn to Say “No”

A big part of advocating in the courtroom is learning how to say “No”. In order to keep the focus on your case, you have to make choices. You have to say no to a weaker argument, a less credible piece of evidence, and to asking that additional question. The same is true when you’re advocating for your big ideas. Your jury of clients, customers and team members only have so much time and so much bandwidth. Every time you say “No” to the irrelevant you’re saying “Yes” for the argument, evidence or question you want them to embrace. So when you learn to say “No”, you’re better able to advocate to win.

Many of us have haven’t yet really learned to say “No”. We aren’t great at setting boundaries. It’s not easy. In Chapter 20 of my book, The Elegant Warrior, I talk about Learning to Object. Learning to object is really just learning to say “No”. In the courtroom, I had to be able to object. So I did it for my clients and for my case. But it took time before I could really learn to object without waiting for permission or looking for validation, both inside and outside the courtroom. It took time for me to build confidence in my objections, and in my “No”. But learning to object, and to say “No”, makes me a better advocate in the courtroom and in life.

It will make you a better advocate too. . In my podcast, The Elegant Warrior, I ask my guests what book helps them maintain their elegance. Indrani Goradia chose the wonderful book The Power of a Positive No. It has changed the way I look at saying “No”, and that has changed my ability to say it. (When you change your perspective, you change your life).

In The Power of a Positive No, William Ury helps the reader see the No as a Yes. Whenever you say “No” to someone or something, you are saying “Yes” to something else. And sometimes you have to say “No” to someone else to say “Yes” to yourself.

Ury explains it in a way that stuck with me. He says ‘you can stand on your feet without standing on their toes’. I always say there are two ways to have the biggest building in town–build your own or knock down everyone else’s. When we start seeing saying “No” as building our own building and not knocking down anyone else’s, we may be able to say “No” more often, with more confidence and clarity.

When I started advocating in the courtroom, I had to learn to object in order to keep the case focused and exclude the irrelevant evidence. The jury didn’t have time for every argument and every piece of evidence. If I wanted to include the information that best served my case, I had to say no to the rest. And so do you. Say “yes” to what serves you and then say “no” to the rest. Learning to say “No” is yet another way you can advocate to win.

Heather Hansen

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Change Minds in 2020

What you see is what you get

If you want to change minds in 2020, change what people see. And you do want to change minds. You might want to change your client’s mind so she hires you. It might be your customer’s mind so he buys more of your product. You want to change your kids’ minds, your friends’, your teammates’ minds. You might even want to change your own mind. And the key to changing minds is simple. Change what they see and you will change minds in 2020.

What you see is what you get. So if you can change what a person sees, you can change what you get. Many of us believe that it all starts with thinking. But seeing comes before thinking. Michaelangelo described the process of creating his most famous work of art, David, this way “I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free.”He didn’t say he thought about the angel. He didn’t say he acted and the angel appeared. Michaelangelo saw–and what he saw, he got.

I see this all the time in the courtroom. When the jury walks into the courtroom, they often seen an injured patient. I have to help them see something else–the doctor’s compassion, humanity or attention to detail-in order to win. And I saw my way to a 100 pound weight loss when I was 18. Instead of seeing the process of losing weight as a struggle and a time of deprivation, I saw it as a way to feel proud every day. And suddenly, I was proud. What you see is what you get.

Decide what you want in 2020. What do you need to see in order to get it? You see, then you think, feel, act and then you get. Don’t forget about seeing. It’s the secret to getting everything you want. It doesn’t matter if it is your client’s mind, your customer’s or your own–if you want to change minds in 2020, change what you see.

Heather Hansen

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Choose the Roller Coaster

Are you the type of person who will choose the roller coaster, or do you go for the Tilt-a-Whirl? I always go for the roller coaster. The Tilt-a-Whirl makes me sick, and I love the ups and downs and the speed of the roller coaster. And just like I choose the roller coaster, I also choose a life that is full of ups and downs.

My family often teases me for choosing work, adventures and relationships that have very high highs, but also have very low lows. But I always say “No trials, no triumph.” Just like you can’t be triumphant in the courtroom if you don’t go through the trial, you can’t get that feeling of triumph in life without going through the trials of life.

But the triumphs aren’t the only reason to choose the trials. The trial itself makes you better. Every time you go through one, you get better. In fact, the trials that test you the most are the ones that make you the best. No trials, no triumph. And sometimes the triumph is simply getting through the trial, win or lose.

So remember that you always have a choice. Me, I choose the roller coaster. I love to see just how high I can go.

Heather Hansen

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Change Perspectives, Change Lives

Change perspectives, change lives. When you communicate, you’re sharing perspectives, but when you’re advocating you’re changing them. You’re helping your jury–of clients, customers, team members, students, or family-to see the world differently. And when they do, their world changes.

But you can change your own world as well, and sometimes you must. The loudest jury, the toughest jury to convince, is often made up of the voices in our own heads. And when you can help those voices see things differently, your life changes. Perspective leads to thoughts, which leads to feelings, which lead to actions and ultimately the result is outcomes. So change your own perspective, change your life.

I’ve had two clients who did just that. The first, Catherine, wanted a promotion and a raise. She came to me because she wanted to advocate for herself to the “jury” of management professionals who would decide whether she got that job and that raise. Quickly I realized that before she could change her “jury’s” perspective, she had to change her own. Catherine had to see that she was confident enough, talented enough, and experienced enough to get that job and that raise. And once she changed her own perspective, the rest was easy. She changed her perspective, then she went to work on changing others’ perspectives, and ultimately she got that promotion. She changed her life.

Another client had to change her perspective when it came to bridges. She saw them as terrifying. This woman had a phobia of bridges that stopped her from crossing them, which held her back from the job she wanted and the relationships she wanted. But once we worked together to change her perspective and see bridges differently, she overcame that phobia and her entire life changed. Change perspectives, change lives.

You are an advocate. You have the power to change perspectives, and to make people see things differently. And you can start with yourself. As we start to approach 2020, decide how you will see your year. Decide how you will see your life. Decide to make 2020 the year you will see things with 20/20 vision, with a perspective that you’ve consciously chosen. In January I’ll be sharing specific tools that will help. You can change your perspective, and then you will change your life.

Heather Hansen

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Does Public Speaking Make You Nervous? Try This

Does public speaking make you nervous? If so, this might be the secret weapon that will help.  I’ve been trying cases in front of juries for 20 years, and now I’m a keynote speaker, so speaking to large groups is second nature for me. In fact, when the time comes for me to stand up and speak, I start to get really excited. I can’t wait to share my tools and help the audience advocate for themselves and their big ideas.

But I have to be careful. Because excitement can sound like nervousness, and it can lead me to talk faster, and higher, and speaking in a high tone and a fast pace is not effective with your audience.  Tone of voice is a huge piece of being a good advocate. When you want to win sales, attention, loyalty and engagement, first you have to know your “jury” of clients, customers, investors or team members. Who are they and what do they want? Next you focus your message so that it speaks to them. Finally, and often most importantly, you hone the messenger. That’s you. And your body language, facial expressions and energy are important. But tone of voice may be the most important tool you have.

Your tone of voice has an enormous impact on how your jury of clients, customers, team members or investors receives you. Did you know that voters prefer politicians whose voices have a deeper tone?   Speaking slowly, deliberately and in the appropriate tone will make a huge impact on how your message is received.

Many of my clients worry that they can’t control their tone of voice. They think it is what it is.  But they do have some control. They can control their pace, modulation, and breath. And of these things impact tone. One good way to control your voice is to be aware and to breathe, and I use Jin Shin with my clients to make this happen. Jin Shin is an ancient Japanese healing art that uses holds on different parts of the body to impact certain energies.

I first learned about Jin Shin at Mii Amo spa in Sedona. When the practitioner told me that holding your thumb works to decrease worry and anxiety, I was sold. I sucked my thumb as a child, and I often find myself intuitively holding my thumb when I’m stressed. So for me, Jin Shin just made sense. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure to work with Alexis Brink, the author of The Art of Jin Shin: The Japanese Practice of Healing With Your Fingertips. You can listen to my interview with Alexis on the Elegant Warrior podcast on Monday, and she can explain Jin Shin much better than I can. What matters to me is  Jin Shin slows my breathing, makes me aware, and gives me space between my excitement and my message. And I believe it can do the same for you.

When you want to advocate to win, you need to take every advantage available to you. Jin Shin is just one way you can hone the messenger and make sure your message hits home. Give it a try.

Heather Hansen

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Want to Win? Go Beyond Communicating and Become an Advocate

When you want to win–sales, attention, loyalty or engagement-you have to go beyond communicating and become an advocate. Communicating is sharing ideas. That’s great when you’re at therapy, chatting with friends or having dinner with your family. But advocating is publicly supporting your ideas. When you advocate, you’re a champion and a protector for your ideas. And that’s how you win. 

A client recently came to me after working with another consultant. She wanted to get funding for her big idea and that consultant had suggest that she “over-communicate”. He said people don’t hear you the first time you share your message, and he was right. But it’s not enough to just repeat yourself. In fact, my client found that her investors were getting annoyed when she repeated her message. She had to start advocating for it.

So I talked to her about my proprietary 7x7w process. I showed her some different ways she could share her message–with data, with story, with testimonials and even with her body language. Armed with the 7x7w system, as well as a new awareness of HOW she communicated, she became an advocate. And she won the funding she needed.

There’s nothing wrong with communicating. We do it every day. But when you want to win, you have to go beyond communicating and become an advocate. 

Heather Hansen

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3 Tools to Be Your Own Best Advocate

If you want to succeed, no matter what you do, you need these 3 tools to be your own best advocate.  As AI continues to take over jobs, and technology continues to change the jobs that remain, your ability to advocate becomes more and more important. You want to advocate for your ideas, your team, your business and yourself. It’s no longer enough to have a good idea. You have to be able to communicate that idea, support it, and persuade others to get on board with that idea, with enthusiasm. You have to learn to advocate for for your big idea. And when you do, you will turn your clients, customers, investors and teammates into your advocates as well.

Advocating is a skill that I’ve honed and practiced in my work as a trial attorney for the past 20 years. I love to stand before a jury and advocate for my clients. It’s why I became a lawyer. But I soon realized that the biggest part of my job isn’t advocating for my clients. I have to teach them how to advocate for themselves. Because jurors don’t want to hear from me. They want to hear from the parties–the people who made the choices, did the things and had the ideas at issue in the case. My clients have to learn to advocate for themselves, their choices, and their ideas. And my job is to give them the tools to do that well. With these tools, some practice, and a real willingness to go all in, anyone can learn to become a better advocate.

Here are 3 tools that will help you be your own best advocate.

1-Know Your Jury: At trial I choose my jury by reviewing the jury questionnaires, asking the prospective jurors questions, listening closely to their answers, and reading their tone of voice and body language. I get to know them, and then I use that knowledge to advocate to them. You have your jury–your investors, your customers, your clients, your team members. Get to know them. Listen to them. Know how they talk, what ideas resonate with them, and what they love. The better you know your jury, the better you advocate.

2-Break the Curse: The Curse of Knowledge is the idea that you don’t know how to explain the things you know so well. It’s a huge problem in my trials. I’m a medical malpractice defense attorney. The doctors I represent know medical terms and procedures so well that they forget what it’s like not to know them. But I know my jury–and often they don’t know what a “vascular surgeon who performed an angiogram” is. If my client uses these words, the curse is real and we will lose. But if we start talking about the blood vessel doctor who took pictures of the blood vessels–we are on our way to a win. The first step in breaking the Curse is knowing that you have it. Then you can break it with the right choice of words.

3-Use What You’ve Got: Use all of it–eyes, ears, body, Advocating isn’t just choosing the right words. It’s also sharing them the right way. And I do mean share. This has to be a give and take. Speak, but listen. Move, but watch. Use your energy, and pay attention to others’. I work with my clients to use their tone of voice, facial expressions and body language but also to read others’. When they’re aware of the energy of the jury, the Judge and the attorneys in the room, they can use their own to advocate to win.

And so can you. Anyone can be a stronger advocate. Start with these three tools, and get to work. Your big idea needs you.

Heather Hansen

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You Are An Advocate. The One Way to Be the Best

You are an advocate. You publicly support your family, your ideas, and ideally yourself. And you have your “juries”, whether it’s your clients, your customers, your investors or your team. For over 20 years as a trial attorney I’ve given witnesses the tools to step into the witness box, turn to the jury, and advocate for themselves. The most important piece of advice I give is the reminder I whisper right before they walk to the stand to advocate–“Listen.”

It’s not what they expect. Whether I’m working with my clients as a trial attorney or my consulting clients who want to learn to advocate for their big ideas, they never want to focus on listening. When I’m sharing the tools to help my clients become better advocates, they always want to know the same thing. “What should I say?”

The what is up to them. For my sales or leadership clients, the what is their big idea, and they know it better than I do. And for my legal clients, it would be unethical for me to tell them what to say. Whenever I’m teaching someone to advocate to win, my job is to help them with the how. How can they share that big idea in a way that their jury will understand, appreciate and want to embrace? First we work on the message–how can we overcome the curse of knowledge, share the idea 7 times and 7 ways™ and tell a story that will win? Then we work on the messenger–their body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. This is how my clients learn to advocate to win.

But none of that works if they don’t listen. My legal clients have to listen to the question. The worst witnesses are always those who don’t listen to the question, but instead tell the jury what they want to say. They lose credibility with the jury. It makes them seem confused, evasive and in the worst cases, arrogant. These witnesses are afraid they won’t get their chance to speak. They rush to tell their story and in the process make that story much less persuasive. But when they learn to listen, they realize that the questions can help them tell their story. The questions give them insight into the best way to tell the story. In the courtroom, listening to the questions is the only way to win. And the same is true outside the courtroom.

My consulting clients come to me to help them advocate for their big idea. Together we work on how to hone the message and how to ready the messenger. But it all begins with listening. If they can’t learn to listen, they won’t learn to advocate. They have to listen to their clients, their customers and their teams. They have to see that listening makes them powerful, and put as much work into listening as they do into speaking. When they’re willing to receive, what they have to give is so much more likely to resonate.

In the moments before one of my legal clients walks up to take the stand, puts his hands on the Bible and swears to tell the truth, I whisper–“just listen.” I then hold my breath to see whether they remember the work we’ve done on listening. They know how to listen with their ears, their eyes and their hearts. If they remember this knowledge, I know we’re that much closer to winning. If you remember to listen–to your clients, your customers, your team and your investors, you will get all you need to prepare your message and yourself to advocate for it. First you listen. Then you advocate. And then you win.

Heather Hansen

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How Does Your “Jury” Want to Feel?

When you advocate for your big idea, you need to consider how your jury (your clients, your customers, your team etc) wants to feel. Because if you can use words, questions, tone and body language to help your “jury” feel good, you will win.

Words make us feel, and feelings make us act. I saw that for myself when my boyfriend’s  word choice led to our breakup.  We’d been dating a few months when he started answering the phone by saying “Speak to me.” And it drove me crazy.

He claimed that he didn’t understand. What was my problem? I told him it made me feel bad. Then he offered to say “talk to me” instead. Of course, that was no better. When he answered the phone that way, he made me feel dismissed. He made me feel unimportant and rushed. And if he was trying to win my loyalty, attention or engagement–he lost. That was 20 years ago and while our relationship didn’t last, the lessons I learned did.

I learned that the words we choose matter. Every word you choose has an impact on the listener and how they feel. And if you are using words to advocate for your big idea, your team, or yourself, the listeners are your jury. They may be customers, clients, team members or partners, but they are the ones to decide whether you are going to get whatever it is your big idea needs. And how you make them feel will be key to your wins.

Jurors, customers, clients and teams make decisions based on emotions, because that is what humans do. Antonio Damasco is a professor of neuroscience at USC and he’s studied how humans make decisions. He studied patients with damage to the part of the brain that processed emotions. Those patients were not able to make decisions. They’d go on for hours, weighing all of the cognitive data involved in the decision but never able to actually decide. Neither available option won.

When you’re advocating for your big idea, you want your listener to choose your big idea.  And that means you have to make that choice feel good. Words help to make people feel good.

I used what I learned from that failed relationship when I became a trial attorney. Many attorneys put their clients on the stand and say “talk to the jury about your background and experience” or “speak to the jury about your background and experience”. But I remembered how that made me feel. I chose different words. “Speak with the jury about your background.” “Talk with the jury about your experience.” Did that choice of words contribute to all of my wins? We’ll never know, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

If your “jury” is going to make decisions based on how you make them feel, know how you want your jury to feel and then choose the words that help them feel that way. Choose your language (body language too!), your tone, your facial expressions and your energy intentionally. When you’re advocating to win funding, attention, loyalty or engagement, every word matters. Choose carefully when you’re speaking with your jury–and start adding up your wins.

Heather Hansen

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