TED Talks – Elizabeth Loftus: The Fiction of Memory

Memory is a remarkable and fragile phenomenon. Or so says Elizabeth Loftus, a researcher and psychologist whose TED talk is the basis for this blog post.

Memory is an important component of our lives as actors and performers and certainly an important part of the lives of lawyers and their witnesses. Attorneys rely on their clients and their witnesses for memories of events, contracts, their actions and the actions of all the folks who are a part of the trial story. For many years, the research has shown that eyewitness testimony can be remarkably UNRELIABLE. Elizabeth Loftus in this enlightening talk expands on this through her own research.

Read more here:

http://legalstage.com/2013/10/03/ted-talks-elizabeth-loftus-the-fiction-of-memory/

Consider How You Come Across With the Volume Off

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

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We know communication is visual and not just verbal. But when litigators think of that, they tend to think of demonstrative exhibits and technology. But what about themselves? As a speaker, you’re making a visual impression as well. Most know the basics: stand up straight, look the jury or judge in the eye, use a few gestures. But in practice, attorneys want to expect that in court, content is king and what we say matters more than how we look when we say it. But some surprising research shows that more than we expect is coming through the visual channel.

The studies use the technique of asking research participants to assess a communicator without the aid of sound. Watching a music competition with the sound off, for example, (Tsay, 2013) both amateur and professional musicians were able to correctly predict the competition winners, and did so at a level that was better than those who heard and those who both heard and saw the performance. Similarly, experimental participants unfamiliar with the candidates were able to identify the election winner after simply watching ten-second silent video clips of a gubernatorial debate (Benjamin & Shapiro, 2009). As with the music competition research, turning the sound on tended to worsen the accuracy.

 

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/09/consider-how-you-come-across-with-the-volume-off.html

Beware of the Anti-Theme in Your Case

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

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We’ve written frequently on themes: those little nuggets of language and meaning that distill a case to its persuasive essence. As consultants, we create themes even more frequently, trying to find the right message to leverage a case’s greatest strengths while minimizing or reframing its most important weaknesses. By definition, a theme is a simple message that helps an audience see your case in its most favorable terms. But based on some recent research, there is also a mirror image of that: an ‘anti-theme’ in the form of the condensed message that would turn off your audience and turn them away from your case. Considering these anti-themes when working on the contours of your message can help you know what to avoid and what to preempt in your trial strategy.

The study (Gromet, Kunreuther & Larrick, 2013) focuses on consumer choices…

Read more here: http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/05/beware-the-anti-theme.html

The Perils of Arrogance in Preparation

By:

Trial attorneys, by nature, have (or at least display) a great deal of confidence.  It’s an essential component of the job. Success in the courtroom demands confidence.  And this confidence is well-earned. After all, you must be doing something right to be where you’re at in your career. But don’t let that confidence create unnecessary barriers. A law degree is not a certification in effective communication.  Thinking through an idea is a fundamentally different task than communicating that idea. Attorneys supremely capable of the former still struggle with the latter, perhaps because communication is so fundamental to our existence that it’s easy to assume we are naturally skilled at it.  That would be false. Perhaps we tend to forget that, while our own ideas are immediately and clearly accessible to us in our minds, they need to be packaged as best as we can in words and images for others to  understand. The challenge is akin to trying to share with a friend the experience of viewing a Picasso by merely describing it to him or her. Even the best words fall short.  Here’s three areas where effective communication often departs from effective strategy at trial:

Read more here:

http://tsongas.com/blog-posts/my-38-minute-5k-and-the-perils-of-arrogance-in-preparation-buy-now-and-get-a-free-zimmerman-epilogue-and-keychain/

Opinions may vary depending on how you ask that question

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
posted by Douglas Keene

We spend a lot of time asking potential jurors questions and attempting to sort out just what their responses could mean about attitudes and values and beliefs as they relate to our specific case. So it was wonderful to see the new Pew Research Center article on how asking the same question results in different answers depending on how you have worded the question. As it happened, four different major organizations looked at the polarizing issue of the Department of Justice’s subpoenas of reporters’ phone records. CNN/ORC, Washington Post/ABC News, Pew Research, and FOX News all polled the public on the DOJ subpoenas. But, as you might expect, each organization asked the questions a bit differently and, as you might predict, each got a slightly different result. After the differing responses to the differently worded questions on the same issue were published, Pew Research wrote about the reasons ‘why’ each of the four major organizations had gotten the results they had.

unanswered questions - brainstorming concept

Ban the Bullet (From Your Slides)

….my focus is on something less deadly in the literal sense, but more deadly to chances of good visual communication: bullet points in your PowerPoint presentation. Using bullets can seem like a simple way to walk the audience through your argument, but it isn’t, and the approach actually impedes understanding. We’ve written before (here and here) to join a rising chorus criticizing presenters’ reliance on bullet points. Despite this, walk into most courtrooms, mock trial presentation rooms, or CLEs and you’ll see presenters who keep using bullets like they’ve got an unlimited magazine.  One reason for this might be that the message hasn’t fully gotten out yet. Another reason, though, might be that bullets are simply easy for the speaker (both at the preparation and presentation stages) and the lure of having one’s own speaking notes on the screen can lead presenters to put their own needs ahead of their audience’s.

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/04/ban-the-bullet-from-your-slides.html

http://www.litigationps.com/.a/6a01156e439be2970c017c385f6215970b-pi

10 Key Things to Know About Social Media and Jury Consulting

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As the jury pool progressively ages and more and more jurors hail from the Facebook generation, it has become utterly crucial for litigators to consider social media in the processes of jury selection, jury consulting and persuasion. The statistics of Facebook’s prevalence alone are astonishing.

  • Facebook has more than one billion members worldwide
  • The average person spends about 12 hours/month on it
  • The average person has 229 friends, but for the 18-34 set, the average is 318
  • The average person creates three pieces of new content every day
  • Fifty percent of all users log in every day
  • Fifteen percent of all users update their own status every day
  • One billion pieces of content are shared every day
  • About one-third of the U.S. population is on Facebook
  • Ninety-eight percent of 18-24 year olds use social media
  • The fastest growing demographic of Facebook users is age 35 and older

As we view social media, we must remember that research has shown that – perhaps surprisingly — most people present their real self, rather than their idealized self, on social media profiles. In court, in contrast, jurors may intentionally put their best or worst foot forward, depending on their agenda.  Thus, social media offers a wealth of data about prospective jurors not evident in court.

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/63880/10-key-things-to-know-about-social-media-and-jury-consulting?source=Blog_Email_%5B10%20Key%20Things%20to%20Kno%5D