How to read and influence people with six effective courtroom strategies


This article was written by James Daily, an Oracles Expert and founding partner of Daily Law Group who assists leading clients with fraud, crisis management and arbitration in business and family disputes.

Criminal courts teach you relationships. If I stand with a jury, I must build a bond quickly and trust them so that I can persuade them to see my point of view. Here are my six tips for reading and having a full impact on people.

1. Understand the three personality seats.

Imagine in a row three seats. The first chair reveals your public face, how you want to present others. The second is your private image, your secret insecurities or only your friends. The third is your hidden face, which allows you to create false fronts— something that happened to you as a child, for example.

Start by concentrating on someone’s first chair in any initial interaction. Encourage them to think about what is important to them. Let them show their greatness, and they will be flattered that you are interested and that creates confidence.

2. Feel empathy.

Speak to your second chair to link more closely. Imagine how they feel and how they interact with those feelings in the other person’s shoes. You don’t even have to ask questions; you just have to make comments. You might say, “It must be a difficult task for you, for instance, to conduct your own business with so many people who depend upon you.”

It tells them you see them when you appreciate their role. Be kind and speak to the individual’s heart. Share analogies from your life to see if they resonate with them if you’re unaware about how they feel. For starters, “I felt overwhelmed when this happened to me.”

3. Be insecure.-Be vulnerable.

You need to move from your own to someone’s third chair. Unlike what we’re always taught, it’s all right to express the feelings –while relating to others. Vulnerability is the best way to build confidence, inspire people to open up, when exposing vulnerability or anxieties.

I first tell the jury what I am worried the defendant will do when I open a case. Of example, I might tell the jury that if my client sues a dishonest business partner, “I’m afraid that the prosecution will persuade you that my client was not harmed because he’s wealthy and successful.”

4. Focus on the vocabulary of body and speech.

“Mirroring” is a practice related to the deliberate copying of the posture of the other person, such as slouching or fidgeting. By watching their body language and hearing their speech you will understand how someone feels. Does it appear normal and suit what they say? For example, they can lack trust if their words show confidence, yet they cannot fulfil your vision.

Concentrate on your facial expressions and look into your eyes. By eye contact I “shake” my hands with every juror, concentrating on someone, until I see his head moving slightly, showing my connection to them.

Be deliberate with the sound and cadence of your voice. For instance, to build a sense of confidence and to pause deliberately to lead the conversation, you may lower your voice.

5. Reacting to complaints.

You have to answer the preconceived claims, prejudices and partialities of the other with strength and conviction. That is why I ask jurors to show all of their partialities early in a trial so that I can answer them. “Some people feel, for example, that rich businessmen like my client do not deserve great awards as we are looking for. Would you look like this?”Listen and thank you for sharing your point of view.

Do not contradict your beliefs, simply ask them to open your eyes, rebuild the situation and address their concerns in order to overcome objections. Describe what you can do for them instead of selling them. Paint a picture of their lives if they know what you are offering. Ask them to explain their life in detail, using all five senses and the present tense, without their current problems.

6. Psychodrama roleplay.

Psychodrama is a powerful technique to play a role in planning dramatic or unexpected outcomes for trials, conferences and meetings. Think of everything that’s important to you and the other side and play part with your team in different scenarios.

Play for example, how the other side should meet your unnegotiable needs and offer “good to haves” to make it seem magnanimous. You are prepared to respond appropriately in the heat of the moment when you have already visualized the possibilities.

Many educational guidelines from the National Centre for training in Psychodrama, including books by Jacob L. Moreno, psychodrama author, can be found. You can also hire other people for a psychodrama.

When you understand the motivations of others, you know when you trust them to do business together. The way to win the case is to respond to and talk to others as individuals, rather than as consumers or a seller.

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