Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)

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When Preparing to Present, Talk, Don’t Read

December 8th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  In my line of work, I find myself on my feet giving presentations quite often: marketing talks, CLE seminars, strategy sessions. I prepare for those opportunities pretty extensively, but here is one thing I don't do as part of that preparation: I don't sit and review my notes. I do prepare notes, and I do make sure that I devote plenty of time to planning out what I'm going to say, for example, when a given slide is on the screen. That's especially true since I don't believe in text-heavy slides that, in effect, put the speaker's notes

Nod Your Head

December 4th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  Nodding your head up and down means "Yes." At least in our culture it does. And world travelers will know that this one thankfully translates to nearly all other countries and cultures as well. There are exceptions, like one country I visited a couple of times on consulting trips: Bulgaria. There, shaking your head up and down, our "Yes," actually means "No," and shaking your head from side to side, our "No," means "Yes." And if you ask me if that creates the potential for confusion, I'd nod my head...or shake my head "Yes." But sticking

Complete the Confidence Checklist

November 30th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  When an audience decides whether someone is credible or not, what do they look for? To a large degree, they look for confidence. In some ways, confidence can be viewed as performed credibility. Someone who is telling the truth is confident. Someone who is winning is confident. Of course, we know that neither of those statements is necessarily true, at least not all the time. But what matters is how the message is received. And in human communications, confidence is one of the most important external markers. Whether a speaker's confidence is merited or not, viewers

Use "You" (Not "I" or "One" or "They")

November 27th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  Persuasion is often a matter of overcoming barriers, and in the courtroom, those barriers can be very real. The wall of the jury box is a physical analogy for the differences in class, age, race, education, and many other factors that can separate the fact finders from the attorneys, the witnesses, and the parties. But beyond those demographic traits, distance can also be influenced by more subtle features of language. When the wording is dry, abstract, and depersonalized, it is more difficult to cross the bridge to jurors' understanding. It's better to be more direct. And

Experts, Tell a Visual Story

November 24th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  When you think of science, do you think of dry research articles, and charts and graphs that take a good deal of explanation in order to get to a point? Or do you think of Neil DeGrasse Tyson explaining the Cosmos with the help of clear but sophisticated video and graphics? If it is your goal to connect with an audience of non-scientists, like a jury for example, then your choice ought to be for something closer to the latter. A science-educator like Tyson who uses all the tools available is in a better position to

Expect Jurors to Climb Into the Cooler

November 20th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  The cooler sat in the  courtroom throughout the trial. A 40.5 gallon Igloo fishing cooler, it was a key piece of evidence in the murder trial of an attorney, Tom Capano, charged with killing his lover who was the Delaware Governor's scheduling secretary. A recent story in Delaware Online focuses on one of the jurors, speaking out now for the first time almost two decades after the trial. That juror, Erin Reilly Lee, got inside the evidence -- literally. See, it turns out that the volume of the cooler was important, because Capano's defense was that his lover, Anne Marie

Be Alert to Partisan Affect

November 16th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  Written in the context of the civil rights and Vietnam war protests of the Sixties, there is an old Buffalo Springfield song with a line about the marchers, "Singing songs and carrying signs [that] mostly say, 'hooray for our side.'" That 'hooray' is what the political psychologists call "partisan affect," or the tendency to like and identify with those on your side of the political spectrum and to dislike and even demonize those on the other side. That is perhaps the reason that many of his supporters are sticking with embattled Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore,

Make Your Denial Credible

November 13th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  It is the season for strong denials from powerful men in entertainment and politics. To pick just one from the crop of current examples, the U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama, former judge Roy Moore, has recently been accused of a number of inappropriate relationships when he was in his early thirties with girls who were as young as 14 years old. Predictably, Moore has denied it all, calling the accusations "completely false." Sometimes the better course is to admit what is true. The comedian, Louis CK, took that route recently by responding to reports of harassing

Preserve a Place for Spoken Persuasion

November 9th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  A fair proportion of the legal advocacy in America today is taking place via written communication. With only a small percentage of cases actually ever seeing a jury -- three percent, or less -- cases are more and more often reaching their ends based on written motions. Summary judgment decisions are often decided based on briefing, and in settlement negotiations as well, it can often come down to letters and emails ferried back and forth between the parties. There is obviously still a place for trial and oral argument, still a role for the advocate standing

Expect Empathy to be Driven by Similarity

November 6th, 2017|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:  On October 1st, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concert attendees, injuring nearly 500 and killing 58. In response, the President offered condemnation and condolences, but said the event should not be politicized and offered no policy changes. Thirty days later, a man drove a rented truck through a crowded bike and pedestrian area, injuring a dozen and killing eight. In response, the President used executive power to further increase vetting of foreign immigrants, called for an end to diversity-based immigration, and intensified his emphasis on a Southern border wall. Then yesterday, a gunman