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How lawyers can enhance communication skills

Here, an award-winning GC and TED Talk speaker imparts expert guidance to legal professionals on enhancing their client communication skills, recognising the pivotal role of this skill in achieving success.

user iconGrace Robbie 02 July 2024 Corporate Counsel
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Speaking on a recent episode of The Corporate Counsel Show, Theo Kapodistrias, a general counsel for Evergen, award-winning public speaker, and author, provided guidance and advice on how lawyers can enhance communication with clients by drawing from his personal experience and what he has learnt from his professional training.

In the same episode, Kapodistrias discussed the importance of effective and proficient communication within the legal profession, showcasing how these skills are instrumental to success.

Kapodistrias underscored the importance of understanding that effective communication is a skill that takes time to develop and highlights the specialised training programs that he has attained that have greatly improved his communication abilities.


“I undertook quite a bit of training. I was fortunate that within some of the organisations I’ve worked with, I could undertake specialist training programs, and I was given the opportunity to speak internationally at a conference.

“We were given the opportunity to train and work with a few specialists to help us with those presentation skill techniques. That was a really good training basis to prepare me for speaking engagement,” he said.

Undertaking these programs motivated Kapodistrias to broaden his knowledge by delving into a wide range of books and actively seeking opportunities to improve his speaking skills.

“I just kept building on it. I read a number of books, actually do the work, and look for opportunities to speak more and hone those other forms of communication. Then, I would also think about concepts that I would think of as confusing and try to articulate them in a way that’s easy to understand,” he said.

To tackle this issue, Kapodistrias has taken a proactive approach by working closely with his business partners. He has created clear and concise infographics to simplify complex legal concepts, making it easier for them to understand and interpret these subjects.

“One thing that I love to do for the business partners I worked for previously, but I haven’t done as many in this current role, is to make infographics.

“A one-page or a two-page document on a very complicated area of law. So people within the business have this handy cheat sheet to understand what this stuff is,” he said.

Kapodistrias stressed the importance of converting intricate ideas into easily understandable and practical language that could be applied in everyday life. He believed that this not only improved his understanding of the concepts but also sharpened his ability to communicate with others effectively.

“For my own learning and benefit, being able to translate things that are hard to understand and articulate those appropriately for an audience that actually needs to use it on a day-to-day basis was really useful for my knowledge, but also this skill set that I’m trying to develop,” he said.

He explained how enhancing interpersonal communication leads to stronger connections and relationships by prioritising the needs of the individual over self-interest.

“I feel that with improving your communication from a personal level, you’re able to build better connections and better relationships with the people that you’re talking to because you’re focusing more on them as the audience and them as the person receiving the information, compared to focusing on yourself, which is where the focus shouldn’t be,” he said.

Another crucial quality Kapodistrias stressed for lawyers to integrate into their communication is authenticity, as reflecting one’s true self is essential to fostering stronger connections with colleagues and clients.

“Something else I think is important is being authentically you. It’s so important to share stuff in a way that sounds like it comes from you. I want people to read something and think, ‘Oh, that sounds like Theo.’ ‘That sounds like the guy that I was talking to the other day.’

“I think that’s important because it shows that there is a person behind the label general counsel or the person behind the screen, which is super important to build relationships,” he said.

Kapodistrias offered advice to individuals who are looking to improve their communication skills. He emphasised how formal training is not always accessible, but skills can be developed through accessible activities such as reading books and conducting research.

“One of them could be to buy a book that might be coming out very soon, for example, or actually doing some research and training courses to help boost that skill,” he said.

He further said: “Even seek additional feedback from people in your team to say, ‘All right, did you understand what I was saying?’ ‘Were you happy with this advice that went out?’ ‘Did this training program go well? Or is there stuff that I could have done to improve that?’ And feedback from your colleagues is useful.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Theo Kapodistrias, click below: