Performing Under Pressure

The Secrets to Performing Under Pressure

Parallel parking.

If you work in a major city, it’s something that you probably do every day.

For example, here’s a picture of where I parked my car outside the courthouse just the other day:

Nothing special about it, right?

Sure, the car is a little longer than the average sedan, but there’s still plenty of distance between my car and the cars in front and behind.

There’s absolutely no reason for me to be nervous about parking the car in that space, right?

And usually, I’d agree with you.

Normally, I would park the car in a spot that size without even thinking twice.

But this time, I hesitated, and almost had second thoughts about parking in that spot.

Maybe it will sense once you see the full view of where I was parking:

That’s right… The spot where I was going to park was in-between two police cars.

Even though it was a normal parking job, it didn’t feel normal, because of the extra pressure weighing on the situation. Of all the different cars in the world that you don’t want to accidentally bump into, “police car” ranks near the top of the list.

(Also on the list: Rolls Royce, Ferrari, and anything owned by a Mob Boss)

Nothing was different about the actual facts… The traffic, the size of the parking spot, the length of the car, etc… All of those facts were exactly the same.

It was just the perception of everything that was magnified because of the types of cars involved. Suddenly, it felt like this was going to be much more difficult that it actually was.

The same is true for your trials.

Pre-trial preparation, jury selection, opening statements… The same techniques apply in every type of case.

But when you’re involved with a high-stakes trial, a high-publicity trial, or dealing with a legendary opponent, it feels like the case is different.

Just remember: It’s not.

Trust your training, and trust your skills.

The same winning advocacy techniques that you’ve successfully relied upon in other cases work here, too. Be confident. You can pull this off. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself, “This is a trial… I know how this works. I’ve been here before. I’ve won cases before. And I can win this one, too.”

The pressure makes the case feel different, but don’t let it negatively affect your composure or case presentation.

If you can’t perform under pressure, you shouldn’t be in this line of work. Every client, regardless of whether they have the lowliest dog-bite case or a ground-breaking human rights issue, deserves your professionalism and highest effort.

When pressure rears its ugly head, keep calm, maintain your composure, and keep your focus. You can do this. You’ll soon realize that this case isn’t really any different from the other cases you’ve tried, and you’ll put yourself in the best position to successfully bring home the winning verdict.

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One thought on “Performing Under Pressure

  1. I like the newsletter very much for i am getting very useful information on courtroom skills…i have learned much from it and i hope i will keep on getting more information the newsletter staffs. I wish to buy some articles from you but there is not electronic system of payment here in South Sudan…what can i do please to get my copies? thank you.