Recent post in FB by a friend:
"Lawyers use the words 'subsequent' and 'prior' more than any other profession. I am convinced of this. Just say before and after. It isn't difficult."
Y'all are talking like LAWYERS when you should be talking like JURORS in voir dire. The coffee rule can help.
Give this podcast a listen to learn what the coffee rule is and how to use it.
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EPISODE 150 TRANSCRIPTION
Sari de la Motte:
Hello, darlings. Welcome to another episode, From Hostage to Hero. This one's going to be a quick one. Just like the review I'm going to read to you, which is by William N., five stars. He says, "A must-read." That's what he titles it. And then underneath, "A must-read."
Well, William, thanks. I'll take it, "A must-read." We are growing in reviews, my people. Trial Guides, we're still the highest-reviewed book ever, and we want to continue to be that. So get your reviews in. Does it make any difference that it helps me be happy? If so, please do it. And go ahead and do one for the podcast too.
All right. Today, we're talking about one of my favorite things ever, which is the coffee rule when it comes to voir dire. What is the coffee rule, and why do you need to use it? Well, here is the basic gist.
Something happens to you all when you get up in front of a jury. I think it happened to you when you were in law school. I think that's actually when it happened. But somehow, you got into this weird place of talking like no one talks at all, meaning you are suddenly using words that nobody uses, at least jurors don't, and it just creates this awkward, stunted situation.
You know, somebody just posted on Facebook today that I'm friends with, a lawyer. And he said, "Lawyers use the words subsequent and prior more than any other profession. I'm convinced of this. Just say before and after it isn't difficult." And so I posted, and I said, "As well as, they used to drive cars before going to law school, and now apparently y'all drive motor vehicles."
It's true. You start talking like some alien. And what I want to suggest is that you stop for a few reasons. The biggest one is that you have an advantage over the defense because the defense is formal. Just look at how they dress. They come in. There's normally more of them than you, three or four or five representing the corporate interests. They're all in black suits. Right? They're super serious. They do all the bad voir dire, which you are learning not to do.
So, when you show up as a normal human being that resembles the jurors instead of an attorney, this is going to be in your favor. Right? You want to be like them, not like an attorney. So, we want you to talk like a normal person.
I mean, just in the last podcast, I talked about this concept of experiential questions and even the way you ask them. Who here has experience with? You would never say that at coffee, which brings us to the coffee rule. If you wouldn't talk to someone that you love or are dating or just friends with, or just met at coffee, you do not get to say it in voir dire. This is a rule in the H2H community. If you wouldn't say it at coffee, you don't get to say it here.
For example, if you're sitting across from someone having coffee, and you're wondering if they ever visited the Hilton in Maui. You wouldn't say, "Do you have any experience with the Hilton at Maui? Who here has experience with the Hilton in Maui?" Nobody talks like that. You say, "Have you been to the Hilton in Maui? How was it? Is it good? Do they have room service? How are the beds?" You talk like a normal person.
Here's some other ones. "By a show of hands." What the heck? Who says that? "By a show of hands, who here has experience with?" There's a way you can double it. Nobody does that.
Now, this doesn't quite fit under the coffee rule because normally, you wouldn't be having coffee with, well, maybe you would be having coffee with a bunch of people. There's a bunch of friends. Okay. Yes. This totally does apply. I take it back. So you're sitting with a bunch of your friends, and you're wondering which one of them is playing Wordle, which apparently is this new word thing that I have no idea what it is, even though I'm a scrabble enthusiast, but Wordle. So you wouldn't say, "By a show of hands, who here is participating in the game, Wordle?"
No, you'd be like, "All right, who's watching Wordle?" And if there's a ton of people, you might just raise your hand as you're saying it. Right? That's what we teach you to do in H2H. You don't have to say, "By a show of hands, or by raising your hand, or raise your hand, please." You just raise your fucking hand, and people will model it back to you. Okay?
"Vehicle. Vehicle." Nobody drives vehicles. Again, coffee rule. If you're sitting at coffee, looking at someone across from them. And you're like, "So did you have to take your vehicle in to get maintenance last week?" Slap yourself across the face because that is ridiculous. Nobody talks like that. Nobody. Jurors don't. Where did you get this whole motor vehicle bullshit? It's just, nobody talks like that, so stop. Again, if you wouldn't say it at coffee.
"Automobile," same thing. You don't get to say automobile. Listen, stop being so formal. That is not what is needed in voir dire. In voir dire, you're just having a conversation. You've heard me talk about, "It should feel like a dinner party." Why am I using all of these terms from your everyday life? Because that's where jurors come from, everyday life. So, you want this to be as comfortable as possible for them so that they will talk to you.
The more formal you make it, the more you use terms that they don't understand or never use in their ordinary lives, the more you put a wall between you and them. Let the defense do that. You show up as a normal human being. This is why I think you should dress, not casually, but not like so straight-laced, like crazy, that it just makes it feel like you are so different than them. Be professional. Take it seriously. You are there for a serious reason but not so seriously that you're not one of them. Talk like them. The defense won't, so you need to.
So, that's the coffee rule in a nutshell. Shortest podcast ever, but it's a short concept, and I picked a short review to read as well. Just ask yourself, would I say this at coffee? And if you would, and it's still too formal, stop doing that shit. But in most cases, you'd answer, "No, I wouldn't." Well, then you don't get to say it in voir dire either. Love you, my friends. Talk next week.
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 out 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 waitlist 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.
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