Years ago Tom was seen wandering around the court house. A gentleman, probably picking up on Tom’s confusing body language, asked if he needed some help.
“Yes, I’m looking for the coffee machine.”
“I’ll take you there. What brings you here today?”
“I’m here for a traffic ticket,” he said.
“Yeah, this is my first time in court and I’m really worried about it. I don’t really know what to expect.” Tom was almost relieved at the question, it gave him a chance to release some stress.
“Well, it will probably work out okay for you. Here’s the coffee machine.”
“Thanks for everything.”
With that, Tom found a place to sit. He drank his coffee and tried to gather himself before entering the cauldron. When his time arrived, he walked into the court room, looked at the judge and couldn’t believe what he saw. It was the coffee guy.
“Well, how was the coffee?” he asked with a smile.
“Uh, it was fine, thank you.”
Later, Tom said that he felt so much better in the court room just because he knew he hadn’t done anything to antagonize the judge, by being cocky or bad mouthing the process or whining about how the police officer had it in for him. He was pleasant and showed humility. That first glance at seeing his new “friend” in charge gave him a good feeling.
Although such a situation isn’t supposed to affect a trial’s outcome, put yourself in Tom’s place. Would you rather be greeted with a smile or a sneer? When you are in the court house, you never know who is watching you or who you are talking to. Re-reading, “Showtime Begins and Ends from Your Car.” Small gestures, such as politeness, or being pleasant or funny or nice, might go a long way in putting you in positive frame of mind. It also gives the appearance of being a winner.
And that’s a great way to begin a case.
What are your tips for being in court?
Fred Campos is father to three and primary custodian to his daughter Caitlyn from a previous relationship. Image courtesy of YBS on Flickr via Flickr.