Friday, December 2, 2016

Use Jurors’ Unrelenting Scrutiny To Your Advantage

The entire time you’re in Court, the jurors are watching you, trying to figure out from your expressions and body language what you think of what’s going on at any given moment, and how you are doing.

Use this unrelenting scrutiny to your advantage.

For example, if you want to let the jurors know you think a witness is being less than candid, raise an eyebrow and look quizzically at the witness, as in “Oh, really?!” Hold that expression for a moment or two while the witness is responding, and then look down briefly, frowning, as in “I don’t believe what I’m hearing.” Which is precisely the conclusion you want the jurors to draw.

To dismiss a witness’s testimony as less than credible, walk a few steps away from the witness during his or her testimony, thereby removing your eye focus from the witness. It’s as if you were saying, “I can’t stand here and listen to this nonsense.”

To put a witness on the spot, stand totally still in front of the witness, resist the urge to make any acknowledging head nods, and maintain steady, almost rigid eye contact, thus effectively pinning the witness down with your look.

To give value to a witness, be that their person and/or their testimony, stand fairly close to the witness in a natural, somewhat relaxed posture, maintain good eye contact, and nod approvingly.

Be conscious of your body language and expressions. They are yet another valuable tool in your litigation tool-kit.

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