It can be intimidating to say the least. It’s one thing to sit with your own lawyer in their office but very different to sit across from your ex and his lawyer in a conference room. Add a court reporter, recording devices, piles of documents and know that you’re going to be grilled by a lawyer any moment, and you start to sweat.
Everything you say is being recorded and turned into TRANSCRIPTS- which can be used against you—no pressure.
We’re intimidated because we’ve never dealt with legal issues before our divorce. Ever. As scary as it is though, you can remain calm, cool and collected. Remember, your lawyer is right there beside you and will intervene (object) if there are questions that are irrelevant. Although they can’t answer any questions for you, they are there to protect your rights and ensure nothing damaging is being asked or answered.
So, what can we do to build our confidence for legal proceedings during our divorce? 5 TIPS to get you started;
1. Pick a power outfit. If you think what you wear is unimportant, think again. Consider a woman in a hot pink, low cut top and matching stilettos. Now picture a woman in a navy blue crew neck and oxfords. See the different impression each woman gives off?
Wear something that makes you feel and appear confident. For me, I can’t go wrong in black jeans and a white blouse. I might throw on a black jacket. This works well with blue jeans or a pencil skirt depending on your own personal style. Above all, dress comfortably. You don’t want to overdress and then feel like you’re in someone else’s body. This is less about showing off fashion savvy or color coordination and more about simplicity. Pick something that says—“I am confident”.
2. Have a mantra; a mantra is a form of prayer or meditation made up of a few words. It’s a phrase or a single word that when repeated has the power to make you feel stronger. You could write your mantra down on your pad of paper in your meeting, as a visual cue. Here’s a few I like:
“I am capable and strong”
“I trust myself.”
“I trust the Universe to give me what I need”
“I am healthy and happy.”
-the goal is to stay calm and focused which will contribute to greater confidence.
3. Wear a piece of jewelry or a charm as your own personal talisman. Maybe it’s something your grandmother gave you? It could be a ring, a bracelet, necklace. I have a necklace and on the pendant is engraved a line from a Walt Whitman poem: “From this hour I ordain myself loosd of limits and imaginary lines”. (that’s not a typo 🙂 that’s how they spelled back then) I like to wear it to remind myself not to create limits on myself. Live with freedom. Don’t be a prisoner to that little voice…
4. Do a little homework prior to legal briefings or proceedings. If you have already submitted Affidavit(s) then review them. You don’t want to contradict your own sworn statement. Understand legal terms so you don’t feel intimidated by the lawyers when they discuss things like “undertakings“, “under advisement“, “pre-conference trial”, “affidavit”, “court order”, “consent order” etc. Having this introductory knowledge will build your confidence.
5. Body language speaks volumes; exude strong body language including eye contact, sitting up straight, shoulders back just like they taught you in school. Any seated posture where you are taking up space in the room shows you have confidence. No neck touching (sign of distress) or making yourself small (legs crossed, arms hugging your body). A great thing to do before attending any event where you will be evaluated is to practice what Amy Cuddy refers to as a power pose for 2 minutes. Think Wonder Woman stance. I tried to find a good photo of Womder Woman but the photos were all ‘sexy’ cartoon characters, not exactly inspiring.
In Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk she insists and proves through scientific studies, that if we practice power poses (confident body language) that our mind will start to believe in our own power. Check out her talk for further inspiration.
BONUS TIP; You don’t have to know all the answers. “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer and better than trying to remember something that isn’t clear in our mind or making something up on the spot because we feel ‘dumb’. Never feel dumb in a legal proceeding. No one has all the answers. Lawyers and Judges don’t always have all the answers either.
Building our self confidence prior to legal proceedings during our divorce or any other occasion where we will be evaluated, can make a big difference in how we come across. Are we powerful or powerless? Try the tips and you will indeed be and feel more confident. Whether it’s wearing a special piece of jewelry, repeating a mantra, picking the right clothing or practicing a power pose…use whatever you can to build yourself up. Fake it until you become it. You got this.
Please add your own thoughts or a personal confidence building tip in the comments!