Credentialing, Part Deux…Ask Killer Open-Ended Questions

In my book I talk about how important the voir dire process is to lawyers. In fact, a dear lawyer friend of mine has said, “a trial is won or lost in the voir dire process.” So, are you winning your clients over with your questions?

Investigate Before Proceeding

During the voir dire stage of a trial, lawyers get their one chance to interact with a juror to observe how they think and what their values are to determine how to present/shape the facts of their case. It is this investigation where they will discover new ways to present information that is likely to resonate with the jury. Critical!!

Lead the Witness

Fast forward to us. I recently wrote about credentialing yourself with your clients. It is the act of demonstrating your knowledge by how you engage with them.  One key element is about asking smart, researched, killer open-ended questions that illustrate your diligence performed prior to a client interaction, whether you are persuading or informing them. It’s also a way to “lead the witness” towards the solution you have for their issues!

Case in Point

Here’s a relevant case in point that illustrates this skill:

A client laments they need to put a plan in place for their team to succeed. An easy yet ineffective question to ask is “How will you format the plan?”

A smart question to ask is: “Why is this mission critical now?” Here you will understand what’s essential to your client versus what they’ve been planning. You will know why, not just what, they are planning.

Your client then may say, “We need better team compliance with our process,” to which you might ask, “Any challenges to this?” I would suggest a stronger approach, such as asking, “How has this lack of compliance hurt you organization? For how long?”

I trust you are tracking the progression of establishing public testimony to then synthesize to segue to your idea.

That’s great credentialing!

By the way, since I referenced my book above, you can take a look at it on Though I wrote it a few years ago, the lessons in it are as relevant today as they were then.  Hope you enjoy it.