If you’re spending too much time in your head or trying to stick to a script, you’re probably missing a ton of perfect opportunities to connect with your jurors.
In today’s episode of the FHTH podcast, I’m diving into connection THROUGH content, which is going to help you become an absolute voir dire badass and win more cases.
Discover WHY you want your jurors to form a group, HOW to immediately fracture a group (which you don’t want to do, obviously), and THREE things you can do to connect with your jury.
Check it out!
Resources: Funnel Method Training
EPISODE 207 TRANSCRIPTION
Hello, everybody. Today we're talking about Missed Connections, Juror Edition. If you don't know what I'm talking about, there's a missed connections thing in Craigslist, like let's say you were at a movie and you saw this beautiful girl but you ended up not talking to her, but you really wish you had talked to her. You could post on Craigslist, this missed connection, hope that that person saw it and then you guys can connect.
And if you Google hilarious or funny missed connections, oh my gosh, there's so many fun ones, but I picked this one up because it's just too good. So just to give you an example what we're talking about here, "You were the hot brunette with curves that farted near the produce this weekend. I was the..." Kevin's laughing. "I was the tall guy next to you that looked over and asked, 'Was that you?' You quickly replied, 'No, wasn't me.' You almost seemed insulted I would ask."
"As the stink grew, you continued to deny your flatulence, but it was evident. I tried to get rid of the stench by waving a couple loafs of bread from La Paniere. You proceeded to storm off in an angry manner. You are beautiful, and even though you are a liar and fart like a Clydesdale, I would love to meet up for a drink some time." Oh, the cameraman is losing it.
Okay, so that is a funny take and I highly recommend that you look up some missed connections. But the missed connections we're talking about today have to do with the moments in voir dire that happen that you miss because you're too in your head or you're trying to stick to some sort of script.
Side note, there's a very popular voir dire method out there that literally uses scripts, which makes no fucking sense in my mind because this is a conversation that has two sides, if not multiple sides, because it's a group, and you can't fucking script that shit. Anyway.
All right, so we're trying to do a lot of things in voir dire. We're trying to build rapport or show up as a leader or build a team or find your bad jurors. What I want you to understand is all of that can be done if you understand one thing, content and connection are not two separate things.
Now, most voir dires proceed as if they are, right? So you start with hobbies and what are they reading and what bumper stickers they have on their car, and then you dive into the actual content. And this is like pretending to think your date is the most fascinating person in the world only so you can get laid at the end of the night. It's a dick move, my friends. So let's avoid that.
Connection happens through and with the content because it's the content that brings juries together.
That is if your content is good, and an H2H method is always good because it's about principles and it's about things that actually matter, and we're not wasting a juror's time.
So for example, in our funnel method, again, if you are not familiar with the H2H funnel method, go to sariswears.com/training. There's a free 16-minute training there. But in there, we ask the question like, "Who has ever been hospitalized or know someone who has?" And immediately, we're all on common ground. Or my favorite responsibility question, "Who here has or ever has had parents?" Right? So immediately we're all on the same ground, we're connecting. That's what we're trying to do in the H2H method.
But what most of you do is then dive into everyone's experiences, which immediately fractures the group. Meaning you get everybody on the same page, we've all had parents or we've all been in a hospital or we know somebody who has, and then we're like, "Okay, tell me about it, your experience." And as the experiences start coming through, especially the hospital one, people just start tuning out because no one wants to hear about another person's hospital experiences.
Just like when grandpa starts on about their knee replacement or his gout and we just tune that fucking shit out, right? Nobody wants to hear about that. Even you don't want to hear about hospital experiences because we do not care about hospital experiences or any juror experience, we care about what that experience did to form a belief, what they believe that experience means or how it affected their life or what they are now like due to that experience, what their expectations were in the experience. That's what we care about. It's not about the experience itself.
Now, when we create a voir dire around principles, we use a juror's experience to get us to the principle. And because principles are something that 99.9% of people agree with, we get the connection both between jurors themselves and between jurors and the principles in our case.
This is why, for example, exclusionary voir dire doesn't work. It is not a connecting process. And we want jurors connecting. Why? First, it forms the group. And why do we want to form group? Well, a variety of reasons. One, it's easier to get a verdict from a group than 12 or six or eight individuals, but two, you're not there in the verdict room, and so you want this group to take care of each other.
And also, a group manages itself. If there are outliers, if there are people that, "Do not belong," quote-unquote, they're going to handle that shit for you. Back in the verdict room. So it's really important that we have that connection because connection leads to group dynamics.
Now, that's the macro view. Everything I've said so far, right? The H2H method of voir dire is a connecting method. It's to get jurors connected to each other primarily, and to the principles in your case, and hopefully to you, but that's a side issue. Mostly to each other and to the principles in your case.
But now let's look at the micro view. Let's assume that you've set it up correctly, you're using the funnel method to get jurors to give you the principle. How are you missing connection in those situations? Well, I'm going to point out a few places.
First one, jurors will give you personal details and you will just not even ping on that. It's just because it's not in your "Script," it's just off your radar completely.
We just had a voir dire in our voir dire circle last month, which is one of our events in the H2H Playground, where one of our actual, our coaches, and this is true, he was playing juror, and I can't remember what the exact question was, but his answer to it said something around the fact which is his family invented a particular type of martial art. I don't know about you, but I think that's incredibly amazing. Not to mention... Kevin, who's the guy that everyone jokes how strong he is, all the memes about him?
Sari de la Motte:
Chuck Norris, yeah. So I think Joon was saying that Chuck Norris actually used this type of martial art. I think that is absolutely fascinating.
Now here's what happens, because that doesn't fit into your, "View of the case," you ignore it. And I'm suggesting that that is a huge mistake. Because when I stopped the person who was conducting the voir dire, I don't even remember who it was, not that I'd mention it anyway, and suggest that they ping on that and ask about that, not only did that create this great conversation, but it pinged on some things that other people were also saying, which is what I'm going to go to next.
But I also find under this personal detail that a juror will say something like, "Yeah, and then my dad died." Or, "And then my grandma could never walk again." And because you aren't actually having a moment with jurors, you're like, "Great." And you move on and it's like, "Oh my God." We miss these moments with the jurors because it's not, "Part of what we're trying to do." And what I'm here to tell you is, it is always a part of what you're trying to do.
Voir dire is a human endeavor. Trial is a human endeavor. It's not someplace where you remove humanity and just try to get to your facts and your principles even, in the H2H method. We're dealing with people. And the way that we're going to connect with those people is to hear their stories and their details and to honor their moments.
Another place is that you tend not to connect some similarities between jurors. So for example, when we went and we heard more from Joon and about this cool fact about his family, that led us to this great conversation about sports and how important sports were in a variety of different juror families and how that really helped them develop character and discipline. And that was actually completely on theme, so to speak, with the case.
So a lot of jurors will have similar experiences and I won't see you connecting them to each other. Again, you're in information gathering mode instead of trying to make as many connections as you possibly can.
Another place that I see you miss these connections is in sharing yourself. So there's times where someone will say, "And then I lost my grandmother." And you've lost your grandmother, and you've been told, "Oh, don't ever..." Bullshit. If it's authentic... Now, if you're doing it to try to get a moment with a juror, then don't fucking do that. But if it hits you in that moment that you want to connect with that juror, then yeah, say, "I hear you. I lost my grandmother last year too. She was the matriarch. Sounds very similar to your situation. Thanks for sharing." You're a human. They are human. Allow yourself to be human. These are all things that we would do in a regular conversation. No? Yeah, they are.
So I just got an email from someone who had a $90,000 offer on their case, and he'd been following me for a while, and he said that he thought he was doing closing with his co-counsel. He finds out literally as the jury is coming in, filing in, I don't know how this didn't get communicated ahead of time, that he's on for voir dire.
And so he's telling me this story, we're probably going to have him come on a podcast or Facebook Live if it hasn't already happened when this one drops, and he has nothing to go on except for just connect, just connect, just connect with these jurors. He said to me, "Sari, it is the best voir dire by far that I have ever done." And you know what? That is not unusual. I hear that all the time." I was thrown into this case. I wasn't totally prepared. I spent too much time on opening. I just went in and did voir dire, and Sari, it was the best I ever did."
You want to know why? Because all you have at that point is connection. That's all you have. You have to go back to being a human and just connecting with jurors, and when you're forced to do that, you get the best voir dires ever. Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't attempt to and prepare and have our principles ready to go and questions ready to go. I think you can do both. But it outlines that when you get out of your head and you look for those connections, you'll find them, and it makes a difference. In this case, it went from a $90,000 offer to a $6 million verdict. Yeah.
Now, there are three easy things you can do to connect outside of the things I just mentioned that you can be listening for. The first one is you can listen, and you can communicate that you're listening. There are non-verbals of listening.
So many of you have frozen face, we call that frozen face in the H2H Playground, where the person's talking and you have this look like your face not moving at all. And it's normally because you're trying to think, you're not actually listening. You're thinking about, "What am I going to do with that? What's my follow-up? Is it on theme? Is it not on theme? Is that bad? Is that good?" Right?
So you can nod. You can reflect in your face. That's another thing that we talk about in the crew where sometimes somebody will say, "And then the car came out of nowhere and ran into my kid," or something, and you'll be like, "Hmm." I'm like, "Okay, a car just ran into their child. This is part of the story. Your face needs to reflect that." It would in a normal conversation, right? That or you be a weird, horrible friend if your friend was telling you this.
So you can nod, you can reflect emotions back to the listener, make eye contact. Again, we'll do these things naturally if we're actually listening. So actually listen. Trust. This is why trust is such a big thing in H2H, is when you trust yourself in your case and the truth, you can let go of everything else and just be with your jurors. Because you know you've got it back there. You know your case. You're not in your notes or on, God forbid, a script. You're just with your jurors now.
Two, you can track the conversation. So we talk a lot about how a juror will be talking about something and they are somewhere really resonant. What we mean by resonance is that they're kind of lit up about what they're talking about. It doesn't even need to be positive, it could be something negative or hard or sad, but they're in a place where it's very emotionally warm and raw.
And because you are on your script, you will say, "Thank you for that. Let me ask you this." And it's related, but not where they were. You didn't track the conversation with them. It's something that we do naturally with friends and family where we're like, "Oh wow, what was that like?" We just kind of follow them.
But what you'll do is you'll throw in this question, and you can see it on a juror's face. They'll be like, "Oh, well, I guess I did this." And immediately they go back to their head, they're out of their head space which is where all the powerful questions are, and this is just not what you want to be doing. We want you to track the conversation, stay with the jury. There's good stuff there. There's good stuff that is not on your preparation. We prepare as a starting point, it's not the be-all end-all.
Third thing, this is the really easy one, thank jurors for their answers. I cannot tell you how many times you will be with the jurors and they'll be telling something to you and you'll be like, "Juror number seven, let me ask you about that." Nothing. No recognition that this person just shared something with you, that they spoke up, any of it. Say thank you. Or, "I appreciate that. Thanks for sharing that."
What you want to avoid is things like, "Good. Excellent. Yes, exactly right." You don't want to start coloring juror answers by inadvertently saying this is the, "Right answer," and this is the, "Bad answer," because jurors are going to pick up on that. Thank you is neutral or appreciate that is neutral. That's another way to connect. And again, it's what we do in a normal conversation, is it not?
Here's what I want to leave you with. Be human. Stop being so formal. Just get in there, listen, get curious, ask follow-up questions, track those conversations. Your script is there. Listen, if you're in H2H, I know it's there. I know you've got it ready. We don't do scripts, but you know what I mean. Your principles, what you want to be asking, your funnels are all created, but I want you to have that as a backup or even as a starting point, and then get in there and be with these people. Do not miss the opportunity to connect, because that, my friend, wins cases. Talk soon.
While you wait for next week's episode, how would you like instant access to exclusive trial skills training on my H2H funnel method for voir dire? Grab a pen and paper so you can jot down the website address for a 16-minute video that will help you win more cases. The free training is called Let the Jury Solve Your Problems in 3 Easy Steps, and I'm even going to send you a workbook to go with it. Now, are you ready for the address? Visit sariswears.com/training. You'll see me there. Enjoy.
If you liked this episode topic, check out these others:
- Episode #206 – Stop Talking So Damn Much
- Episode #205 – Good Questions + Bad Sequencing = F**cked Voir Dire
- Episode #204 – How To Become A Badass
3 pOWERFUL STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU READ A JUROR'S MIND
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