Word Choice

by | Dec 5, 2016 | Legal Process

In law, the words matter.

Who am I kidding – words matter in every situation!

Recently in court, I told a judge that I was frustrated because she wasn’t listening to me. Later, a colleague offered feedback, saying that “the judge doesn’t have to listen to you, but they do have an obligation to hear you.”

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That little nuance in word choice – listening vs. hearing

– makes a huge difference.

My colleague was right. I complained because the judge kept interrupting me, and my colleague cautioned that I wouldn’t want to tell a judge not to interrupt. Rather, I should say something respectfully about “hearing my position.”

Words matter. They can throw us off-course or they can make our case. Think about that any time you’re in an argument or a conflict or a challenging situation at work.

Are you choosing the right words? If not, what’s stopping you?

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