Know the Difference Between Debate and Trial Advocacy

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

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There is a tendency, particularly within law, to equate argumentation and persuasion: How do you persuade? By offering arguments, of course. But that isn’t all of it, or even necessarily the half of it. You win the argument when your point cannot be refuted, but you persuade only when your target is convinced. Over the years, most formats of academic debate have clearly chosen argument over persuasion. No self-respecting debate judge would admit that they are siding with the winner because they more fully understand and accept that side’s advocacy. Instead they will say, often in excruciating detail…

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/10/know-the-difference-between-debate-and-trial-advocacy.html

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

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/

Want to Become a Better Speaker in and out of the courtroom? Read this…

Presenting in court is the ultimate test in public speaking: your on stage in front of dozens to hundreds of people, with a few dozen listening intently & scrutinizing every word out of your mouth, with millions of dollars at stake.

Vivek Wadhwa breaks down some critical steps in delivering your presentation.  i’m particularly found of this one:
“If you use a PowerPoint, just put the highlights on it and don’t read from the slides. Have the PowerPoint supplement and substantiate what you are saying and give the audience—and you—a roadmap of what your talk is about. Graphics are better than words.”

Your visual strategy should be prepared as diligently as your oratory presentation.

This came with practice and perseverance. Let me share some of the lessons I’ve learned.

  1. Don’t try to memorize every line—it is a hopeless cause. Have notes in your hand or use a PowerPoint presentation which highlights the key points that you want to make.
  2. Know your material and rehearse it several times beforehand. Record yourself giving the talk and note what you did right and wrong. Have your friends critique you.
  3. Make it personal. Talk about yourself, what you think about the things you are speaking about, and most importantly—what this means for the audience. This means that you have to know your audience—who they are and what they are interested in. Remember: this is for them—not for you. Don’t do what most academics do—impersonalize the material and repeatedly give the same dry, dull, and boring lecture.
  4. Tell a story…..

Read more here:

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130614025137-8451-how-to-go-from-being-a-disaster-to-a-great-speaker?trk=tod-home-art-large_0

Can the Slow Pace of Trial Keep Up with Our Fast-Paced World?

Rushing through the C terminal of SeaTac Airport hoping to catch an earlier shuttle to Portland, I was pleased to see that every business and service around me attempted to accommodate my jet setter lifestyle. The Massage Bar enticed me to relax with a “15 minute short shot;” Butter™London promised a “waterless express manicure,” and Beechers suggested I, “Rush in and grab lunch to go.” I didn’t have time for any of those things. I was too busy eyeballing the “standby list” eager to get home an hour earlier than planned. Alas, the 2 p.m. flight came and went, and there I sat next to a 20-something kid who provided me with 30 minutes of entertainment and the inspiration for this blog.

It occurred to me that this kid, living in his double-screen world, could very well end up sitting in the jury box of your next trial. If he’s lucky, there will be a single foam-core poster board proudly displaying page 4 of a key document. And if he’s really lucky, there may be a PowerPoint show containing 40 bullet-pointed slides explaining the expert’s opinion. But, there won’t be interactive games or FaceTime connections with friends four states away.

By:

Read more here:

http://tsongas.com/blog-posts/can-the-slow-pace-of-trial-keep-up-with-our-fast-paced-world/

12 Astute Tips for Meaningful Mock Trials

I have led or helped lead over 400 mock trials in the past thirty years. In that time, I have learned what works and what does not. Below, I share twelve of the best lessons that I believe litigators can take from all of my accumulated experience.

1)     Don’t pull punches on the opposing side.

In mock trials, we often see counsel hone their messages and themes, as well as throw their best ammo at their own side’s presentation, but come up short when preparing the case for the opposing side, whether intentionally or unwittingly.

2)     Use balanced litigation graphics for both sides.

Understandably, in an effort to contain cost, as well as their natural desire to make the best case for their client, counsel often creates more and better-aimed litigation graphics for their own side, but may make an anemic attempt, if any, to create punchy graphics to drive home opposing points.

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65238/12-Astute-Tips-for-Meaningful-Mock-Trials?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+a2lc+%28The+Litigation+Consulting+Report+from+A2L+Consulting%29

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The Power of Simplicity

What if I told you that you could predict the success or failure of stocks in the first few weeks after their IPO, knowing nothing about the company other than their name? What if you only knew the ticker symbol? A team of psychologists investigated this question and determined that you can, in fact, predict early stock success on name alone [1]. Specifically, the fluency of a name matters, in a positive way. Companies and ticker symbols that are fluent, or easy to read and pronounce, outperform those that are not. For example, with all else being equal, Sprint, with the simple ticker symbol S, will outperform Pfizer, symbolized by PFE.

The psychological reason: humans prefer simplicity. This same effect has been found in various areas of impression formation and human interaction.

By:

Read more here:

http://tsongas.com/blog-posts/the-power-of-simplicity/