Monday, June 29, 2009

How Texting and Twitter Impact Your Openings

You may never have tweeted in your life, nor do you ever want to, or you may tweet your every move. You may think texting was invented purely to bless your life with constant communication, or curse it. Either way, love it or hate it, the different ways in which people are communicating impact the effectiveness of your trial work, in particular, how you express yourself in your opening statements.

Opening statements are the roadmap, that which helps the jurors make sense of the evidence as it unfolds, this you know. However, how you create and present that roadmap needs to take into account how today’s jurors communicate, not how those of yesteryear did.

What that means is:
- Use short sentences. Express just one thought per sentence. Texting, twitter, even IMing all rely on short bursts of information. These are easier for jurors to absorb than the long often convoluted sentences typical of lawyer briefs.
- Get to the point. People who text and tweet find ways to say what they have to say in immediate, no frills fashion. Convince jurors of your case by speaking a “language” they understand.
- Title your points. A short burst of information is followed by another, related, short burst, in most texting and Twitter. When you give a title to your point (or make it a bullet-point), you can then go on to elaborate, because you have a title you can refer to repeatedly to help jurors stay on track.

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