Heather Hansen

Want to Win? Time to Think

As a trial attorney, it’s my job to win. And I love winning. But even more than I love winning, I love talking to my keynote and workshop participants about winning. I love talking about winning even more than Charlie Sheen did. I love sharing how anyone can use the tools of a trail lawyer to win. While a trial is a zero sum game, outside the courtroom things are different. The Cambridge dictionary defines win as “to receive something positive because you have earned it”. This definition allows everyone to win. Before you can win, though, you have to think.

You can’t win until you know what you want. What is the “something positive”? You can’t get to work earning it, until you get to work thinking about what it is. Then you have to think about how you earn it. Only then can you start making progress. Thinking always comes first.

We don’t think much anymore. Phones, computers, media and life seem to get in the way. I just read The Road Less Stupid by Keith J Cunningham. He argues that we should have an hour of Thinking Time, 2-3 times a week, and he suggests some fascinating questions for that Thinking Time. I’d add two.

What is a win? And how do I earn it?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you will never win. At trial, it is so easy for an attorney’s ego or education to get in the way. Lawyers want to look smart to the expert, so they confuse the jury. They want to make the objection, so they miss the key piece of evidence. If an attorney isn’t utterly focused on what a win is, the ego can quickly take over. That’s how we lose.

That’s how you lose too. If you want to start advocating for yourself, speaking publicly in support of your ideas, your business and your needs, you need to start thinking. Take the time to consider what a win is. Then you can ask the right questions, make the right objections, make and keep the right promises, and use the right evidence to get you there. #winning

Heather Hansen

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