Y'all know I hate the "hobbies" question. But there's another question I hate and that is:
"How does that make you feel?"
There are several reasons for that, which I'll discuss in this episode, but I'll also teach you how to reverse engineer the self-coaching model to get at what jurors need to be feeling in order to take action for you.
I explain it all in this episode.
👀 Check out the free H2H training below!
EPISODE 135 TRANSCRIPTION
When you're up against a hostile room of people who don't want to be there, you need real strategies that get results. Welcome to From Hostage to Hero, the show that gives you practical advice you can use right now in the courtroom, boardroom, or classroom. Learn how to move your unwilling audience to one that is invested in what you're saying, eager to participate, and engaged in the process. Learn from the attorney whisperer herself, your host, Sari de la Motte.
Sari de la Motte:
Well, hello, hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of From Hostage to Hero. Sari de la Motte with you today, the attorney whisperer, and we are going to start with a podcast listener shout out. I've been doing a lot of book shoutouts, and this one is by Chicken Little. Love that. And she titles it or he titles it, "I'm not a lawyer, but this is one of my favorite podcasts." Well, you're welcome here. Thanks for listening not a lawyer. He or she says, "I have hired Sari before and she was amazing. I'm not a lawyer. And while I love the attorney whisperer, she's just a people whisperer. Do yourself a favor and listen. If you want to move forward and feel amazing about you, your career, and your personal life, you will love this. Brutally honest in a great way I appreciate." Well, thank you Chicken Little. And if you have not already reviewed the book or the podcast, we so would appreciate that. You can do that wherever you listen to your podcast and you can review the book at trialguides.com. Thank you in advance.
Well, you all, I am so excited for today's episode because I just, this kind of popped in my brain about why I hate this question. And I think it's brilliant of my reasoning for why, and I wanted to share it with you because of course you're my people. So we're talking about why the, how does that make you feel question is a terrible question. And so for years and years, people would come out to Voir Dire Studios or I'd work with them in the membership and there would be some kind of line of questioning and somewhere in there they'd say, and how does that make you feel? And it just always made my skin crawl. And jurors never liked it. And I've always said, don't use that. Ask them about their thoughts instead. And for a couple reasons. I would say, first of all, it's weird when you don't know someone to ask about their feelings, but then the attorneys would say, well, the reason we're trained to do that, I'm not sure where you guys learn this, is because we were trained that jurors make decisions from their emotional place.
And so you want to ask about feelings instead of thoughts. And so that's what kind of created this huge brainstorm of mine today, which is that is so true. Absolutely. As you've heard me talk about in the podcast previously, if we just narrow down the CTFAR model to just the TFA, which is your thoughts produce your feelings or create your feelings and your feelings produce your results. Meaning what you think makes you feel a certain way. And when you feel a certain way, you take certain actions. So I absolutely totally 100% agree with the idea, and the thought, and the theory, the fact, let's put it that way, that we are decision makers that make decisions from emotions. That's what humans do.
Here's why however, we don't want to ask people, how do you feel about that or what are your feelings about that? It's because as I mentioned, talking about feelings is uncomfortable, asking about feelings is uncomfortable, especially in a group and especially when they don't know you and who the hell you are. But secondly, because people have trouble naming emotions. We've been talking about this in the H2H crew quite a bit. And we've been talking about this even a couple podcast episodes ago on fear in that we tend to have, most of us a very limited emotional pallet. So most of us can say whether we either feel scared, there's our fear, or whether we feel angry or whether we feel happy, or whether we feel sad. Those are like the four main ones, right? That's it, that's what we feel. And so that doesn't really tell us a lot. Most of us are not emotionally intelligent.
In fact, I believe that every single trial attorney should look up, have as reference in their office, especially as you're creating opening statements and especially when you are working with witnesses on witness prep, a feelings wheel. If you just go and Google feelings wheel, you'll find something called feelings wheel, and there's a variety of different ones out there. So I suggest you Google them because different ones appeal to different people. But basically it puts those four, sometimes six main emotions in the center of the wheel. And then there's like a wedge that continues out from that feeling. And so if you're feeling sad, for example, the next wedge might have three or four words that kind of go deeper into the feeling of sadness. I wish I had my feelings wheel on me now. I should have it, but I don't know where it is.
So it might be like ashamed or it might be grief, right? So it's a word that actually captures what the actual feeling is. But my point is, is that most people don't have access to those deeper emotions unless they are doing work in emotional intelligence, which we are doing back in the H2H crew. So congratulations, if you got in there a couple weeks ago. And if you haven't, go to fromhostagetohero.com to get on that wait list, but the second reason is that when you ask people about their feelings, one, it could cause the uncomfortableness, but two is they really don't know how to answer, and it's not their fault. Most of us don't know how to accurately identify a feeling.
So here's what I want you to consider, and this is what I think is so brilliant, is I've said for years that you should ask about people's thoughts, but for one reason, it's much easier to ask that question. And it's much easier to answer that question. I mean, ask anybody, what are your thoughts about blank and they'll tell you. People love sharing their thoughts. What are your thoughts about the weather? What are your thoughts about the current president? What are your thoughts about trial lawyers? People are happy to share their thoughts. Their feelings, not so much. But now that you understand, because you're a listener of the podcast, how lucky are you about the CTFAR model, we can reverse engineer that shit. And this is what is so exciting and what I've been wanting to share with you. So again, if you're somewhere where you can take notes, go ahead and write CTFAR lengthwise down the left side of a piece of paper so you have room to write on the right.
So here's what's going to be so great about this. We normally talk about the model again, this is the self coaching model by Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School. We normally talk about the model as the C line starts everything, right? There's a circumstance. Then we have a thought about it. And then that thought creates a feeling that feeling produces an action, and then we get our result, right? So it's kind of top down, but here's the great thing about the model. You can use it at any time at any starting point. So for example, what we're going to do in today's podcast is we're going to reverse engineer it. So we're going to start with what result do we want and then move backwards.
Ah, okay. So here's where we're going to start. What result do we want at trial? It's your easiest question students of the day. Well, yeah, we want a verdict, right? So if you're doing this at home and you're writing on your piece of paper right next to R, so at the bottom of the model, you would write the result you want is a verdict in your favor. Okay. So let's move up now. So we're going backwards. So what action would produce that result? Well, and we're going to do this from the jurors. Now normally you never get into someone else's model, right? We normally never try to create models for other people. Okay. Because as we know, we can't control other people. We can only control ourselves. So this is a little bit cheating, right? Because we can't force jurors to do what I'm about to show you, but we can definitely think our way through it, which will create some great stuff along the way. So stay with me.
So the action that we want jurors to take is to vote our way, right? So if they vote our way, the result is we get a verdict in our favor. All right. So now let's continue backwards through the model. So now we're at the F line or the feelings line. So the question you would ask yourself here is what do jurors need to feel in order to act, meaning what would they need to feel in order to vote our way so that we get the result of a verdict in our favor. Now this is going to be different for every case, but some common themes or emotions that you would want your jurors to be feeling in most plaintiff cases are angry. You want them to feel perhaps betrayed.
This is a beloved company that was putting out that they care so much about your safety. And then the jurors find out they're not caring about your safety, meaning my safety as a juror, I would feel betrayed. Indignant, right, that's often a great emotion when people find out that someone's being a hypocrite. Offended could be an emotion. Disturbed by what they're learning could be an emotion. Again, here's where your feelings wheel would be helpful. Don't you see how this is going to be helpful? You're going to want to look at all the possible emotions and get really clear about what emotion jurors would need to feel to vote your way.
Now, once you have that, now you ask yourself, what would they need to think to feel that way? So we're moving our way back up the model, right? So they would need to think what? So if it was something where they were feeling betrayed, for example. So they would need to feel, or they would need to think it's not okay for a company to advertise that safety is their first priority when in fact they don't care about safety at all. Okay. Or if they were feeling indignant about some hypocrisy that you're going to show in trial, they would have to think it's not okay to say one thing and do another, or to treat yourself differently than you treat other people or hold yourself to a different standard than you hold other people to.
Now here's what's so ingenious about this, is once you know what you want jurors to think, then you can create questions to see if they think those things, because here's the thing I want you to really understand. And this is true of our ideal juror profile, which we're kind of stepping over into that ground now. We don't ever, ever, never get jurors to think anything. We don't. And the voir dires that I have watched over the many, many years, I've been doing this that attempt to get jurors to think things backfire or just spiral out of control. They're meaningless and a huge waste of time for both you and the jurors. We don't get jurors to think anything. What we do is find out who already thinks those things.
So it's the same thing when you're creating your ideal juror profile. And if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, go back. You can watch or listen to many podcast episodes where I talk about the ideal juror profile. I think I have an episode called how to create an ideal juror profile, but the basic gist is to take all your fears in the case, it's a little different door to walk through and think to yourself, what would no longer make this a fear? Meaning what would a juror have to believe so I'm no longer scared about this thing. That if this thing flew out of a juror's mouth, I'd think that's a good juror for me. So it's very similar here and as it is there, is that we're not trying to make ideal jurors. We're trying to find ideal jurors. It's a big difference there. And mindset alert. You got to believe those jurors exist. Because if you don't believe they exist, then none of this is going to work.
I believe they exist. Here's why. You all are on the side of the right. I'm going to keep reminding you of that. You stand for principles. So once you get to that point where you start going back to this idea, how we're playing with this, where you think this is what a juror would need to think to generate this emotion. Then you can create questions to see if they think those things. Because now you know that if you have jurors that think these things that they are most likely going to be able to, that will generate the emotion that you need to get them to take the action so that you get the result that you want. Isn't that awesome? Come on. That's pretty awesome. That's pretty awesome.
So again, you can reverse engineer this. Our line, your result line is what you want to happen. Your action is what jurors will have to do to make that happen. Your feeling is what feeling they'll have to feel in order to take that action. And your thought line is what thought they'll have to think in order to feel that emotion. So spend some time with this, get your feelings wheel out. Think what are the kinds of emotions that I hope jurors are able to generate for themselves? Can you generate emotions for jurors? Yeah. Sometimes through great storytelling. That's a great time. Or just by telling the facts of the case, sometimes that generates the emotion of anger, but almost always it's because they're thinking certain things, right?
So for example, if you're telling a story about an elderly man who goes in for a procedure and the doctor does some shitty thing or forgets to do something, the reason why that generates an emotion for jurors is because they're thinking of their dad or their husband or their brother. Right. This is why I say don't put names in stories so that jurors can do that. See, they think, oh my God, what if that was my dad? Then that generates the emotion of sadness or anger or whatever, which then leads to your result.
That's the reason why stories or facts or opening statements generate emotions. Is not that we generate the emotion it's that we are generating a thought that the jurors then think which then creates an emotion in the juror. They do that part. We just set them down that road by putting the right things to evoke those thoughts in front of them. Is this bending your brain? Is this too crazy? I hope it's not. To me, it seems super simple to be thinking about what we can be doing to help jurors along the path, to generating the emotions that will get us the action and of course, the result that we want.
When we think about, for example, the three follow up questions, the only three questions you need to follow up. That's the name of a podcast that I also have if you want to go look that up. But here's the three questions that I say, have these three questions in your back pocket and you'll never get stuck in any voir dire. And the questions are how important is, or what's important about that. So they give you an answer and you say what's important about that or how important is fill in the blank, right? So that's one of your follow up questions. Second follow up question is what was that like? And your third follow up question is, really isn't a question is just tell me more or please say more.
So when I was looking at those three follow up questions through this new lens of thought versus emotion, I recognized that the first one is really a thought question, right? How important is, or what's important about that? That's really like, what are your thoughts about the importance of this? It's a thought question. What was that like, is a way to ask how jurors feel without using the feeling question, which I think is why it's so wonderful as a question, because what something was like makes them go into the experience, which forces them to go into their feelings. They may still communicate with you in thought language, but it's a more feeling ish question. And what I love about the tell me more question or statement is that jurors can self-select, which we talk a lot about in the H2H crew, allowing the jurors to self-select what they're going to tell you. You guys get so detailed with your questions that you locked jurors in a box and you miss out some great stuff if you just allow them to self select what they want to tell you.
That's a whole other podcast episode, but side note. Anyways. But what I love about this is that they can choose whether to give you a thinking answer or a feeling answer, and that's a great surprise for you to have and play with. So stop using the, how does that make you feel question, because it sucks and it sucks for jurors and it sucks for you. And it doesn't do anything even though yes, emotions are what drive behavior, but we're going to get at the thoughts because that's what drives emotions that drives the behavior. So we're just going to go back a step because that's easier to do and it's much more concrete and it's easier for both you and the jury. Hope that was helpful my friends. Talk soon.
Thanks for joining me today. If you benefited from what we talked about or just want to let me know you enjoy the podcast, go ahead and leave me a review on whichever platform you use to listen to From Hostage to Hero. Add a comment and I just might give you a shout on an upcoming episode. In the meantime, head over to fromhostagetohero.com to order your copy of my book From Hostage to Hero: Captivate the Jury by Setting Them Free and to get on my mailing list. I send out trial tips and encouragement right to your inbox every single week. And while you're there, make sure you join the wait list to become an H2H crew member when we reopen. We only open a few times each year and you do not want to miss out. I look forward to our time together in next week's episode. Talk then.
3 pOWERFUL STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU READ A JUROR'S MIND
Let the Jury Solve Your Problems in 3 Easy Steps
Join me for a free training to understand what the jury is thinking so you have the confidence to trust them - and yourself - in the courtroom.
Use the H2H Funnel Method so that jurors tell YOU the principles of the case instead of you telling THEM.
Subscribe to the Podcast
Tune in weekly as Sari shares tips that will help you up your game at trial, connect with jurors, and build confidence in your abilities so that you’ll never worry about winning again.
Sign up for trial tips, mindset shifts, and whatever else is on Sari’s brilliant fucking mind.