Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)

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Learn from TED: Present Your Best in Front of Large Audiences (Part One)

August 8th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: In a fast-paced technological age, it is refreshing that the simple act of a person giving a speech still has some legs. The “TED Talk” formula of an 18-minute presentation continues to be popular, with more than 2,500 official TED Talks and nearly 100,000 talks in the affiliate “TEDx” network, these presentations are collectively watched more than 1.2 billion times a year. Given the flourishing of this format, I figured that TED talks might have some lessons for lawyers presenting CLE’s or otherwise speaking in front of large audiences. For the past few weeks, I have

Practice Prebunking

August 5th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: In our age, the social networks and airwaves are awash in fake news and rumors of fake news. In that context, it seems, people respond by seeking refuge in their own fortresses. That means doubling down on their core ideological beliefs and rejecting anything that comes from a different perspective. As I’ve noted before on these pages, we are in a new frontier for persuasion. With people being so dug-in, and with the sources that would in normal times serve as a check on what is true and false being so distrusted, is there any hope

Identify the Four Tracks of Personal Responsibility

August 1st, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: The divisions in this country are not just political, they also relate to attitudes toward responsibility. In a survey and study that Persuasion Strategies conducted this past month (July, 2019), we asked respondents about their views of individual versus collective responsibility. In response to a question that offered two choices on how they see the needs of America today, the collectivist view (“Society needs to do more to ensure people’s well-being”) garnered 52 percent of the support, while the individualist view (“People need to take more responsibility for their own well-being”) received 48 percent. That is

Witness Prep: Don’t Blur the Line Between Practice and Discussion

July 29th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Attorney: “To help prepare you for your testimony, let’s review what they’re going to ask about. They’re going to ask about Smith’s performance reviews.” Witness: “Okay, I can talk about these…” Attorney: “Great, so…Why would you terminate Smith after rating him excellent just three weeks earlier?” Witness: “Well, I think you know why… Oh, is that the question? Okay, then, I’d say… Mr. Smith was terminated for knowingly violating a company policy.” Attorney: “Now, why do you say, ‘knowingly?’ That isn’t in your term letter, and we actually don’t know what he knew. Isn’t it more

Experts, No Your Work Can’t Just Speak for Itself

July 24th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: The big moment finally arrived. After two years of investigations and fast-churning news cycles, Robert Mueller, the former Special Counsel who focused on Russian election interference and obstruction claims involving the President, finally arrived to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and the nation. But if House Democrats expected him to arrive with a fiery denunciation, like Moses returning from the Mountain top, that isn’t quite what they got. Instead, they got a witness who seemed a little hard of hearing, and who often needed to hear the question again to get on track with the

Adapt to the Online Brain

July 22nd, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Many to most of my readers will be old enough to remember when there was no Internet. Or, perhaps, you’ll remember a time when “going online” meant connecting through a noisy modem and a telephone line. Even more of you will remember a time when you didn’t have an internet-connected smart phone in your pocket and couldn’t have the sum of human information potentially at your fingertips. Of course, nearly all of us have that now, and you’re most likely reading this online and connected, a large part of the time, to a variety of networks

Stop Saying “What I Say Isn’t Evidence”

July 18th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Sitting in a courtroom during a recent trial, I had the opportunity to hear opening statements from both the Plaintiff and the Defendant. Both sides devoted a portion of their time during these openings to stress the well-worn theme of, “What I say isn’t evidence.” Both sides emphasized that evidence only comes from documents and testimony, and not from their own comments made in opening statement. One side even went so far as to reassure the jury, “You are free to ignore what I say and wait for the evidence.” As a communications professional, it felt

Say It in Three Minutes

July 15th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: One time when I was working with an attorney getting ready for trial, I was there when the attorney learned that they would be able to give “mini-openings” prior to voir dire. But by “mini,” the court really meant “mini” — three to five minutes per side. The attorney’s reaction was to dismiss it. “I cannot really cover anything in three minutes,” she said. In response, I stressed that it was a chance to create a first impression, and to provide some context and greater usefulness for voir dire. I also said, “You would be surprised how much

Highlight the Company’s ‘Character Morality’

July 11th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Here is a recent bit of media research that carries some relevance to corporate defense. According to researchers at Ohio University (Grizzard et al, 2019), when we are being entertained — reading a book, taking in a movie, or watching television — we prefer moral characters. That might seem obvious, but consider that we’re in an age when one of the most popular and enduring characters in recent television is a former chemistry teacher who turned into a drug kingpin and a murderer. And, interestingly, a popular preference for moral characters seems to hold for both

Develop Your Story Early

July 8th, 2019|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: In the days leading up to trial, you wrestle with the task of creating an opening statement in a complex case. Of course, you remember the core advice from your very first trial advocacy class, but the sheer complexity at this stage seems to be an obstacle. “How do I even start to boil all of this down to a story?” The answer is that you’ve got the right idea, but you’re going about it at the wrong time. The act of developing that story should have begun long ago, and much earlier in the discovery process. If