I have written about the benefits of NLP for trial lawyers previously. Here are some ideas and a few phrases worth keeping in mind from Neuro Linquistic Programing.
Consider asking the jury for their permission because it acknowledges the power of the jury by you and helps create a bond. For example, ask them for permission to cross examine witnesses in order to assist them (the jury) in deciding the truth or even permission to ask them questions in jury selection.
Reasearch has confimed the importance of giving a reason for a request. For example, in one research study involving asking people in line to cut in front at a copy machine, some people involved in the study gave a reason for the request and some did not. When a reason was given, no matter how illogical, the rate of agreeing to let them go first was dramatically higher. Therefore, “because” is a magic word we need to use often in trial.
Here are some phrases to consider using in jury selection. Note that the phrase “If I were to ask you” is a very nice indirect way to began a question as compared to just asking the question.
Discovering information: Consider phrasing your inquires like this:
- If I were to ask what is important to you about…. what would you tell us?
- If I were to ask you what you like most about…what would you tell us?
- If I were to ask you what you find most satisfying about…what would you tell us?
Imagine and remembering The word “imagine” is a very powerful word as proven by marketing research. Both that word and asking someone to “remember” are considered in NLP “trance” words because they require the person to momentarily reflect mentally. Other “trance words” include: “comfortable, relaxed and wonderful feeling” for the same reason. Note that the phrase “I am wondering if” is an excellent indirect way to ask a question. Here are phrases in that regard:
- I’m wondering if you can you imagine what it would be like if….
- I’m if you could visualize a situation where….
- I’m wondering if you can you remember a time when..
Note that people have different preferred ways of communicating. The majority of us are visual, but there are those who favor hearing, feeling or smelling. You can change the question “how would it feel to sound or look or smell to appeal to all of the jurors favored way of communication.
Citing a source other than yourself is always more credible than your making the statement even if the source is vague. Therefore, quoting other sources is a helpful technique. There are lots of possibilities:
- My mother always told me…
- People say…
- Jurors have told me…
- I read that…
Another important principle is that the subconscious mind only registers positive statements and not negative. If you were to say “I wouldn’t tell you to consider the defense in this case totally baseless because you have to decide that issue yourself” the subconscious mind disregards the negative in italics. For the same reason, if you start the statement with “You don’t have to take my word that the plaintiff is entitled to a very substantial verdict because of the harm done since you need to listen to the evidence in the case, the subconscious doesn’t register the words in italics.
Trial lawyers should be master communicators. We need to continue to study all relevant sources and that includes sales, marketing and teaching, rather than assume legal sources are all we need to review.