Monday, January 31, 2011

The Power Sit – Science Matches Experience

In working with witnesses, I developed the “Power Sit” – my shorthand for “Please sit up straight, your back against the back of the chair, with your head level, arms on the arms of the chair,” because experience showed me that witnesses who sat this way, demonstrating good posture, were deemed more credible by jurors.

Now, a study reported recently by The Economist (Jan 13, 2011) reveals that good posture has even greater impact. The psychologists who conducted the study concluded that “Those who walk around with their heads held high not only get the respect of others, they seem also to respect themselves.”

The significance of this for trial work is two-fold:
- The “Power Sit” bolsters your witnesses’ self-confidence and self-esteem, a consequence of self-respect. Your witnesses are more likely to give credible testimony because they feel better about themselves.
- Your witnesses are more likely to be perceived by jurors as credible and persuasive, because those who maintain good posture are considered worthy of respect.

When you apply the same information to your own behavior, with just a little attention to your posture, both when sitting at counsel table and when standing at the podium or in the well, you can be a more powerful and convincing litigator.

And you’ll feel that much better about yourself, to boot.