What Rock Climbing Can Teach You About Work Performance

Over the years, rock climbing has taught numerous lessons that can be applied elsewhere in life: How to push your limits, overcome fear and go well beyond your comfort zone; how to persevere and push through even the toughest obstacle (crux); how to lead a group and manage risk; how having a strategy is always beneficial and to not be afraid

Just like in climbing, anxiety and stress can pump you out and force you to fade out in the boardroom or during your presentation.

Don’t let go

Have a plan

Know when to rest

Don’t’ be Afraid

Learn This: The Over-Gripping Myth

Improve endurance by learning the science of stress

As you move ever higher above your last piece and further outside your comfort zone, you grip the rock for dear life, even though you know the route is well within your ability. Yet here you are, only halfway up and too pumped to continue—everything feels way harder than it should. Most climbers have experienced this unfortunate situation: When you get scared, you hold on too tight and waste precious energy. The perceived solution: Focus on relaxing your hands to stop over-gripping the rock, thus lasting longer. While this does seem to make logical sense, over-gripping is actually not a significant factor in this perceived fatigue. Studies in applied physiology, neuroscience, and sports medicine point to stress itself as the culprit for accelerated fatigue. Anxiety can trigger the release of a certain hormone that can make you feel more pumped and tired than you actually are. Here we’ve provided some tips and tricks to conquer your fears and prevent the dreaded pump.

Physiology of Anxiety

When we attribute poor performance to over-gripping, the situation is usually the same: We’re uncomfortable and experiencing a stress response. When we get stressed, whether out of fear, competition, anxiety, or any other worry-inducing factor, we experience a few common physiological changes. Our heart rate increases along with breathing. We switch energy systems from the slow-burning aerobic system, which runs primarily off stored fat, to the faster anaerobic system, which runs primarily off carbohydrates. Our core body temperature starts to rise, and we start to sweat more (another con in climbing). All these changes are mediated through one primary hormone: epinephrine (also called adrenaline), which is necessary when intensity suddenly increases, like powering through a crux.

If the only type of stress we experienced was the stress of exertion on the wall, and the only time we experienced it was during strenuous moves, then epinephrine would only ever be positive. The problem is that fear and anxiety cause stress before we even leave the ground, and therefore cause changes that are less positive/adaptive and more damaging to our performance. A study published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology in 2000 corroborates this: Novice climbers had significantly higher heart rates not only during a climb, but before it even began. The most likely reason for this is anxiety. An increase in mental stress causes an increase in epinephrine release, which then increases heart rate. The novice climbers began the climb with a body already in stress mode—the same physiological state more advanced climbers might only experience during a crux. This means that instead of moving smoothly through the easy sections and reserving stamina for the tough ones, precious energy gets wasted due to an unnecessary increase in epinephrine, caused solely by anxiety.

Read the entire article here:

http://www.climbing.com/skill/learn-this-the-over-gripping-myth/

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Photo credit: Black Diamond Catalog (2012)

Best Article I’ve Read This Week: 5 Easy Ways to Become a Better Public Speaker — Fast

by:

Carol Roth
Contributor
Entrepreneur and author

Speaking at events is a great way to enhance your status as an expert and generate PR for your business. However, becoming a great speaker is an art, not a science. The good news is that with some tips and some practice, you can leave a lasting impression that you will want people to remember.

Here are some easy ways that you can become a better speaker.

1. Memorize concepts, not content.

You may think that the best way to give a flawless speech is to memorize the content word-for-word.  But trying that can create a lot of problems for speakers. Memorization not only lends itself to sounding over-rehearsed (aka not natural), but also, if your mind goes blank at any point during the presentation, you will lose your place and potentially create an awkward silence. Or worse, start to panic.

Instead of memorizing the content, focus on the concepts. Do this by creating bullet points of the content, stories, data and key takeaways that you want to get across in each part of your presentation. Then, speak naturally about them. If you remember all of those key points,….

Read the full article here:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236611?newsletter=true

Seminar Hall

Don’t Let This Little Word Cause a Big Problem in Your Next Presentation

By: David Mykel

There is a very small word that sometimes creates a big problem in today’s litigation graphics: Rag. “Rag” is the term for the uneven edge of text in a paragraph when it is unjustified, i.e., aligned on only the left or right margin, like the way the text on this web page is aligned on the left. The difference is that web design doesn’t give many options for adjusting text rag. There are four basic variations of text alignment to choose from in typography: left-aligned, right-aligned, justified, and centered. When creating litigation graphics, one should always use a left aligned rag. Many of our clients ask us why, and the simple answer is that English is read from left to right – so left justified text is inherently easier to read. If you want confirmation of this, ask yourself the last time you read a novel that had centered or right-aligned text. 

GoodRagExample_on

Figure 1: Example of a good rag.

 

The rag is probably one of the most overlooked details in litigation graphics, yet its flow can make or break the look and feel of your presentation. A common mistake is that most presenters rely on whatever rag Microsoft Office decides to give them, which leads to incomplete thoughts, awkward spacing, and a frustrated audience. Our goal when writing descriptive text for our presentations should always be to convey our message in the most clear and persuasive way possible. An effective way to accomplish this is by using proper rags. What is the difference between good rag and bad rag? A good rag maintains a word flow that places importance on giving paragraphs pleasing shapes and where the line breaks go in and out in modest increments, while keeping important phrases intact. Each line holds its own weight and structure, standing on its own to make a point. Not that each line has to make a complete point, but if the reader is to only read that line, the words will all share the same context. Massaging a rag for the most pleasing presentation possible also entails such mundane considerations as keeping technical phrases, dates, full names and bolded or emphasized text intact for the best possible comprehension. No computer program can do these things effectively; it requires training, patience and a practiced eye.

BadRagExample_on  

Figure 2: Example of a bad rag. Distracting shapes can detract from your message.

A bad rag creates distracting shapes of irregular white space in the margins and/or column where line breaks are varied and inconsistent. The sentence lines frequently break the author’s thoughts and points, requiring the audience to frequently scan up and down between the lines to follow the message.

At VisuaLex, one element that clients have become accustomed to expecting is our painstaking attention to detail. Not only do we “make the complex clear,” but we also make it simple, by paying attention to things that our audience may not pick up on, but will certainly appreciate. In our Precision Points newsletter, we bring to light some of these important differences that separate us from our competition, and identify those things that you want and need in your presentation, but didn’t think about. This is the VisuaLex difference, and it is why some of the most prominent litigators continue to partner with us.

You can also view the article here: http://www.visualexllc.com/PrecisionPointsJul13/PrecisionPoints.html

Developing Graphics for Litigation? Ask Yourself This Question….

I was recently working on a case with a long time client, when this question popped into my head: Why does this matter?

We were assembling case themes, and subsequent graphics, for his opening presentation and struggling to condense his 55-slide presentation to conform to a 45 minute time limit.  This client is a well-respected orator, so I had no worries that he would be able to persuade the audience with his dialogue, but I was genuinely concerned that he would overwhelm them with his dense visual presentation. As I culled through the slides, trying to find materials that I could cut, I kept asking myself the same question over and over again: Why does this matter?

Knowing that we had to cut this presentation in order to not overwhelm the jury, as well as get our point across, our goal was to strategically eliminate slides that didn’t hold up to the scrutiny of this imperative question.  We have to remember, that our opening presentation isn’t the time to put on our entire case, but rather provide a road map of why were are here, where we are going and how we are going to get there.  These three questions can easily be answered in less than an hour, through engaging your audience with a mix of an oratory and carefully selected visuals.

If the answer to this question is glaringly evident, particularly with your opening presentation, then most likely need to cut whatever it is you’re looking and save it for later, or not at all.  Remember: our goal in opening is to simply lay the foundation of our story in an abbreviated time frame.

It’s no coincidence that as I’m writing this article, a client (partner at a large NYC law firm) emailed regarding a current matter we are working on.  He had reviewed the presentation, created by two associates, and commented “we need to cut this down; the jury will be asleep in under 20 minutes.”  He knew what his associates should have been asking from the start, and if they did, could have saved valuable time, and money, as trial quickly approached.

 

Why does this graphic matter?  Because it combines three case themes, represents critical data and has an immediately recognized takeaway.

So, the next time you are creating your visual presentation for trial, arbitration, meditation or a hearing, don’t forget to ask: Why does this matter?

If you need assistance with this imperative question, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn or at DMykel@VisuaLexLLC.com

 

16 Litigation Graphics Lessons for Mid-Sized Law Firms

litigation graphics mid size law firm

by Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Over the past three decades, law firms have figured out that litigation best practices include the extensive use of visual aids, the regular use of a trial technician to manage electronic evidence at trial, and the value of conducting one or more mock exercises. Each of these practice areas has developed in response to specific problems that exist in bench and jury trials alike, and there is an art and science (and about a $250 million industry) that exists around litigation consulting.

So, as more large litigation is pushed into midsize firms as a cost containment measure, I notice something interesting. Most midsized firms just don’t know how to use litigation consultants, and what might look like cost savings is going to yield troublesome results later. After all, we figured all of these problems out once in the 1990s, and an industry exists to provide solutions.

So in the spirit of offering the midsized firm, or frankly any firm that is not an AmLaw 50 firm, a solid primer on what’s been learned these past 20 years, I offer the following 16 lessons:

1. Using Litigation Graphics Yields Better Results: It’s beyond “broad scientific consensus,” it’s just a fact, Litigation graphics provide better results. This recent 2013 study on the effect of visual evidence on juries [PDF] does a good job of summarizing the science of litigation graphics.

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/69374/16-Litigation-Graphics-Lessons-for-Mid-Sized-Law-Firms

Follow the Ten Commandments of Graphics Use in Trial

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

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A recent blog post written by a juror in the trial of Jim Fayed, a gold trader convicted of arranging the brutal murder of his estranged wife in a Los Angeles parking garage, included some rather colorful descriptions of the prosecutor’s use of demonstrative graphics:

…And then there were the assistant DA’s unnecessarily omnipresent PowerPoint slides. 

Here are some actual quotes:
.
“If Jim Fayed didn’t do it, who did? BATMAN?” Click: Batman slide.
.
“The defense is offering you a buffet of explanations.” Click: buffet slide.
….

Effective trial presentation is an art, and litigators should use every effective tool at their disposal to practice and hone that art. But when the techniques call attention to themselves is when “art” becomes “artiface.” Some would point to this example and say, “See! This is what happens when litigators wed themselves to PowerPoint and other presentation crutches in opening and closing.” But the problem in this case is not the use of visuals and PowerPoint, but the way they’re used

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/03/follow-the-ten-commandments-of-graphics-use-in-trial.html