An analogy is generally defined as the act of comparing two things that are alike. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something which is not literally applicable in order to suggest to a resemblance such as “a mighty Fortress is our God.” A proverb is a brief statement of advice like “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”A marketing theme is a central, reoccurring idea or message that connects with the product. Advertising slogans are short, memorable groups of words or phrases promoting a central idea. How something is labeled or described influences our impression. This process we call “framing the issues” involves how something is presented in order to influence the impression people form about the issue. All of these are are powerful tools in communicating and persuading. These are of particular importance in personal injury persuasion. Here are examples pf some of these effective communication devices:
- Preventable, avoidable and inexcusable
- when it came to responsible, safe and reasonable conduct they cut corners.
- They are shading the truth, hiding the ball and outright lying
- they played Russian roulette with the health of women
- this condition was as dangerous as thin ice, as hazardous as a leaky gas pipe and as ominous as an over pressurized steam boiler.
- Waiting too long turned a lit match into a forest fire – a molehill into a mountain by the domino effect. It went from bad to worse.
- The handwriting was on the wall but ignored
- it made as much sense as smoking around a gasoline can
- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
- where there is smoke there is fire
- the problem was ignored until it turned into a crises
- it was a classic case of “doctor knows best”
- The doctor deliberately drove through a red light
- the surgeon just “shrugged his shoulders” and went ahead anyway
- it was like a hot potato being tossed around and no one wanted it
- it was like the fire station got a fire alarm but they ignored it
- it was like hearing the smoke detector going off and taking the battery out of it but not doing anything
Following the conviction of a man who murdered her son the newspaper reported that she said: “death is an ugly thief. It robs people of their hopes, dreams, plans and their loved one. This has been every mother’s nightmare.”
Part of being an authentic involves the courage to take risks at being yourself. The late actor James Garner recalled advice he had been given by the actor Charles Laughton whom he recalled saying to him: “Jim, your problem is that you’re afraid to be bad.” Gardner recalled that “he was right – I was so worried that the audience wouldn’t like me that I was bland and innocuous. He told me don’t worry about the audience. Just go out there and take the risk of being bad!
In 1993 Mike James was an anchor for the news at King TV but was terminated when he declined being demoted to a reporting role and a new anchor taking over. His parting advice for news anchors was:
- Make sense
- don’t waste the viewers time; give them their dimes worth
- speak plain English
- use half the words you think you need
Good advice for all of us.
The American research group published rules for more effective advertising. As you read these think about your trial method and approach because they directly apply to what we do in trial.
- Does the advertisement tell a simple story, and not just convey information? Apply this to the complicated evidence we present as facts and not as a simple story
- Does the ad make the desired call to action a part of the story? The story we tell has to be one where we identify the action that will accomplish the right outcome
- Does the ad use basic emotional appeals? Research has proven no decisions are possible without an emotional component. Our message must involve emotion for doing the right thing and it must not be a plea for sympathy.
- Does the ad use easy arguments? The arguments need to be logical but simple. Nothing complicated. This is where metaphors and analogies are important.
- Does the ad show, and not tell? What great advice because demonstration or video animation or exhibit illustration are much more important than talking about it.
- Does the ad uses symbolic language and images to capture the imagination? The importance of symbolic language and images is that stimulate the imagination. What we see in our minds is an essential part of persuasion and communication.
- Does the ad match what viewers see and what they hear? We always need to start where people are and work from there in persuasion. A person’s values and ideas aren’t going to be changed in a trial so start with them and build your case.
- Does the ad stay with a scene long enough for impact? What this rule means to us is the importance of making things clear and the need for repetition to be effective.
- Does the ad let powerful video speak for itself? We all know video can be and often is boring. It must be short and with a strong impact. It should be done in a way that no explanation is needed.
- Does the ad use identifiable music? I don’t suggest you play music in your trials, but I do think the words you use and what you say must be the jurors language and not that of scholars, rappers or lawyers.