Jurors are just like everyone else. They can be bored or engaged. They can retain the information you give them, or they can quickly forget it. Moreover, even the most experienced and talented judges possess no supernatural abilities to pay attention or remember key facts. Many times, the outcome of a case hinges on important details—and if your story isn’t being heard, it isn’t being retained. This is why it’s so important to make your courtroom presentations as strong and memorable as possible. With this in mind, here are 7 tips to help you create better courtroom presentations.
#1 Know Your Audience
Ask any successful sales and marketing professional, and they’ll tell you that the first step to any pitch is to know your audience. In fact, Entrepreneur.com suggests that one of the most powerful sales techniques is to simply research the audience. In the context of litigation, this might be as easy as just doing a little advanced research about the community or the demographic of your jury pool before presenting a case.
#2 Stay Focused
Nothing is worse than a rambling argument that takes multiple twists and turns. Although the details are important, make sure that the big picture stays clearly in view for those you are addressing. Have a clear and unmistakable message. No matter how complicated the case, you should be able to sum up your case and theory in a quick, 3-4 sentence summary. A helpful tip is to try to think about how you would sum it all up to someone on an elevator. If your argument can’t be fit into an “elevator speech,” it is probably not focused enough.
#3 Use Visuals
Americans are more visual than ever. Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen incredible movements toward a more visual culture. It’s hard to even remember a time when websites were mostly linear or where advertisements contained long paragraph-form statements. Online articles, for instance, get 90% more views if they include visual content. Your courtroom presentation needs to have visuals too. Try incorporating effective animation, storyboards, and illustrations into your presentations.
#4 Looping Your Theme
This is an age-old skill that comedians often use for effect. When presenting a topic, you start with something memorable and make passing references to it throughout the conversation. This goes hand-in-hand with staying focused, because you are reinforcing a theme throughout your presentation.
#5 Chunking (Grouping Your Ideas)
They say points are better retained when they come in 3’s. But it’s not so much the number of items. Instead, what can really help to improve an audience’s retention is to break up complex information into smaller pieces, or “chunks.” Try to break up more complicated topics into simple, bite-sized bits that are easy for your audience to understand.
#6 Primacy & Recency
Research shows that people tend to remember the first and last thing they hear, while they tend to forget more of what’s in the middle. So, make the first and last thing you say during your trial presentations the most important and memorable.
#7 Practice Makes Perfect
Lastly, rehearse your presentation until you are comfortable with it. Get feedback from others. If the stakes are high, consider a focus group. Nothing may improve the success of your presentation more than having real people provide honest feedback.
Make Your Courtroom Presentations Shine
From eye-catching visuals, graphics and animations to illustrative storyboards and efficient e-discovery services, the litigation services firm of A. William Roberts, Jr. & Associates can help you custom design a trial strategy that can entertain, engage, and inspire. More than simple charts and slides, we can help to transform your presentation into an effective argument. Contact us to schedule or learn more about the services we offer.