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:

  1. If I were to ask what is important to you about…. what would you tell us?
  2. If I were to ask  you what you like most about…what would you tell us?
  3. 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:

  1. I’m wondering if you can you imagine what it  would be like if….
  2. I’m if you could visualize a situation where….
  3. 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:

  1. My mother always told me…
  2. People say…
  3. Jurors have told  me…
  4. 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.




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