Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Use Visual “Bullets” to Bring Home Your Salient Points

You spend hours, if not days, honing your opening,  crafting your expert examination questions, drilling down your closing arguments.

As well you should, for there’s nothing like diligent preparation to insure solid trial work. However, as important as your preparation is, how the jurors are going to receive the result of all that intense prep is equally important.

What a recent study reveals (Begelo & Poremba, 2014), is that people forget most readily what they hear. Memory is far better for things that people see or touch. So it’s not only what has long been established - that people absorb communication better when it’s visual as well as auditory - but also that words are too easily forgotten.

And if there’s anything you need when those jurors go into the jury room, it’s for them to remember your salient points.

The temptation is to reproduce on PowerPoint or other visual media, lots of text, so that jurors both see and hear relevant testimony. That’s certainly useful, but you might also consider taking a page from Steve Jobs’ presentations. Regardless of what one may think about the man or his product, Jobs’ presentations are universally considered among the most compelling ever.

Jobs mastered the art of a single image capturing the essence of his point. Sometimes a single word, or a single number. These are the visual equivalent of the “bullet point,” but with far more effectiveness than the usual list of bullet points, for such images are easily and often forcefully, remembered.

Help your jurors take your salient points into the jury room - with visual “bullets.” 

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