If your jurors aren’t as outraged about the details of your case as you think they should be, I have a question for you:
Did you give them evidence, information, and facts? Or did you give them passion?
Because if you spoke about the horrific details of your case without any inkling of emotion in your voice… why would you expect the jury to feel anything but “meh”?
If you’re going to effectively motivate your jurors to give you your verdict, you need them to be emotionally invested in your case.
How do you do that?
Tune in to today’s episode of the FHTH podcast to learn how to get your jurors “appropriately rageful.”
Mentioned in the episode:
For help learning how to use your voice to communicate your emotions to the jury, reach out to our resident vocal coach Kristi Foster at [email protected] to book a free discovery session. Kristi LOVES working with y’all on this.
EPISODE 228 TRANSCRIPTION
Well, hello, hello, hello. So glad to be with you. Hopefully you're either already in the H2H Playground or if we haven't opened by the time this is dropped, that you are on the waitlist. Go to sariswears.com/play. We want to play with you. Wait, that sounds gross. No, only if you have a dirty mind. Okay.
So today we're talking about why jurors aren't as outraged as you think they should be. So there's a couple of things going on here. So I was talking to a, I'm not going to say who I was talking to, but it was an attorney, and they put on a terrific case and it settled halfway through, or maybe it was even toward the end, for an amazing amount. It wasn't even halfway through. The defense hadn't been able to put on their evidence yet. So knowing that I strongly suggest that you talk to the jury, even though it didn't all the way go to verdict this attorney went and talked to the jury.
And this was an egregious case with egregious behavior by the defendant, and they were very, very pleased with how it turned out. But when they went to talk to the jury, they were aghast at how the jury did not mirror what they were feeling. And then they got all freaked out because they're like, "Well, thank God we settled. It probably wouldn't have gone our way," and there're a whole mindset issue. Then came from this, I'm kind of overdoing it. You know who you are if you're listening to this, I'm adding some flare. That was basically the gist. Oh my God, we thought they were with us and then we talked to them after, before we went to verdict. And they probably weren't, and all the things.
So what I was talking to this person, what I said was, "Okay, two things. One, you have to recognize that if they had not heard... Well, not even this, if we hadn't gone all the way through trial yet, where they had not even gotten a chance to process the information yet, their brain is still," excuse me, "in gathering information mode." They literally haven't gotten to a point where they can really process the information and know what it is and how to feel about it. They've been told by everybody and their mother, "You got to listen, take notes, make sure you pay attention," so they're totally in that mode. And then it all goes away and then you're in front of them. You're like, "Well, isn't this a horrible?" And they're like, "Yeah, I guess." They're still in gathering information mode. So you have to understand, their brain was not in the space for them to understand what was happening.
Two, oftentimes when information is so egregious, our brain does a very funny thing. It automatically wants to assume there's an illogical explanation. So if this had settled, which it did, before the defense put on their evidence, their brains are still in that mode of, "Okay, this sounds really horrible. This sounds awful, but we haven't heard the other side yet," which is fact what they said, "But we haven't heard the other side yet." And this attorney was like, "How could they say that? I mean, this is terrible. What could the other side possibly say? Which we know was nothing. There was no way they could defend this. But how could the jury have been so stupid and wrong?" In fact, one of the attorneys got so upset they just turned around and left. And I said, "Again, it's a brain thing. The brain doesn't want to believe that awful things can happen." This is why defense attribution exists.
That's why we tell stories from the defendant's point of view, because if we tell the story from the plaintiff's point of view in our opening statement, we're going to start looking as the audience for every little thing the plaintiff could have done differently and we just assume we would've done those things differently because we live in a perfect world. It's a way we protect ourselves. So the jury is hearing this information, it's horrible and outrageous and egregious, and part of their brain wants to believe that it's not totally true. I fully believe that had it gone all the way, knowing what I know about this case, and they saw the defense had nothing, there was nothing that the defense could offer, they would've gotten there. But when we stop it in the middle and then we blame the jury right there, "Well, what the hell is their problem?"
We have to understand what the juror's brain was doing in that moment. They were not in processing mode. They were in gathering information mode, and they also had not heard the other side, which again, you're like, "Why would they need to hear it? It's so terrible," because that's what our brains do. That's literally what our brains do.
Now, I open with that story, but that's not really what this podcast is about. What this podcast is about is how you have much more impact on getting the jurors outraged, to use our example today, than you think. Often I've been told, I've heard, I've seen, many, many attorneys say you can't get emotional in front of a jury, you can't get angry in front of a jury, you shouldn't be emotionally attached, all of the things in front of a jury. And here's the problem with that. We work with our H2Hers a lot on this particular thing. We say, If you are delivering information that is egregious, that is horrifying, that is sad, and you are not rageful, sad, upset, you create cognitive dissonance for the jurors. Because they are hearing information that is horrifying, and yet they are seeing and also hearing it on a nonverbal level, that you are totally and completely fine with it. And this doesn't make any fucking sense in their brain.
And because they're the ones that have the least amount of information in the room, they're going to look to you, especially if you are the leader, which everybody tells you need to be, and they're going to go, "Oh, okay. I'm going to take my lead from the leader, because that's what we fucking do in terms of leadership," and they're not going to think it's egregious. Now, I'm not saying that's what happened in this case. I know it's not what happened in this case because I know this lawyer and this lawyer is fantastic, one of the best, if not the best. But I'm saying, in general this is something we can all look at to make sure that we are doing our part to get the jury there.
Let's pause for a minute and talk about why we want the jury there. We want the jury there because we want them motivated to act and we motivate jurors to act by engaging their emotions. The end. Information doesn't do it. It doesn't. I'm going to come back to that in just a minute. We have this horrible idea, I think it's horrible, I think it's stupid, I'm just going to call it a stupid idea, that as attorneys we need to be neutral. That's our job is to be neutral. And where the hell did you get that idea?
Listen, we're talking about leadership. There are two ingredients to leadership. You need to be going somewhere, otherwise there's no reason for people to follow you. That's what leadership is, you're leading people somewhere, and two, you have to have followers. I want to focus on the second one. How do you get followers? Number one, is passion. Not information, not evidence, not facts. Information doesn't get them there, evidence doesn't get them there. Look at some of the best speakers in the world who are horrific human beings. If Hitler had just said, Here's my thought, y'all, Jews are bad. There's never really no good reason for saying that except for, I think they own everything and they don't deserve it. But I'm just saying the Jews are bad and y'all need to believe me on that one.
You think that he would've gotten where he got? No, he had some passion. He had some bullshit arguments he was spewing, but he had some passion behind it. Now, I'm not saying that you can sell any... You can sell anything, look at our world today. Nope, sorry. That's the wrong place, I'm not going to go there. But what I am saying is when you have the truth as y'all do because you're plaintiff trial attorneys and you are standing in the truth, you stand on the side of the right. When you infuse that with passion, that is the winning combination. Think about this. If you're thinking, "Well, it's just information. It's just evidence, that's what they need to make a decision." Think about the news. Most of us don't get activated watching the news. We might get upset. We might be like, "Well, that sucks," or, "I can't believe that's happening." Or, "Oh, that's so sad," but we're not super emotionally invested, most of us.
Why? News anchors are neutral. They're not in there passionately taking a side about what's happening in the news. They're just reporting the news. That is their job. That is not your fucking job. Your job is to motivate people to act. That is your job. And again, we want you to do that. We need you to do that by engaging the jurors emotionally. We talk a lot in the H2H voir dire process about how we want to do heart-based questions versus head-based questions, meaning we want you to get to a juror's heart space, not their headspace. Headspace questions are, "Where have you lived? Are you a manager? Do you follow rules at work?" Those kinds of things. They can answer them very quickly.
Heart-based questions are, "What made you choose to become a doctor? Why do you think they have those rules at your workplace? What's important about that? How have you applied those rules?" More deeper questions than the head-based questions because information doesn't motivate. Here's the thing, it all starts with you. You have to be invested. You have to care. You have to be fucking pissed off. You have to go first because that's what leaders do. Isn't that what they tell us all the time? "Lead in court. It's important to be a leader, blah, blah, blah." Well, are you willing to go first? Because the jury's sure as hell not going to. They are literal hostages, have you read my book? Sitting in a box, not knowing what the hell is going on, what they're supposed to do, how to do it. You come up there, you talk about these horrific events without a hint of emotion in your voice, and then you come and you complain to me, again, not the person in the story, but other, and say, "They're not appropriately rageful."
Well, that's your fucking fault. Listen, I know you all are thinking, "Yeah, but how do I get away with that? I mean, I've been taught not to be emotional and duh, duh, duh, duh, duh." Listen, in our process we get the jurors to tell us what the principles are. We get the jurors to tell us what matters in their world. We get the jurors tell us what the right thing is to do because guess what? You stand on the side of right, I keep saying it.
And once they tell us that and they say, "These are the things that are wrong, these are the things that should not happen. This is what I would expect in this situation," and they're emotionally invested. It's like flipping them off when we get up finally in opening and we're telling the story of what happened and we have zero emotion, it's like we're giving them the middle finger. Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts on this and your beliefs about this and your experiences with this, but it's not that big of a fucking deal. That's what my voice is saying at least. Excuse me, I'm going to take a drink of water.
By the way, that is how we get away with it. We get the jurors to tell us that it's egregious, not the actual things in our case, but that certain actions are egregious, certain things are egregious. We start with the jurors. That's what the H2H method is all about, it always starts with the jurors. And once the jurors get invested, we now have permission to go and be, or show I should say, emotion.
The one archetype that y'all love is the warrior archetype. We hear that all the time with trial lawyers. "Trial lawyers are warriors. This is a war. Warrior, warrior, war." I have no problem with that archetype. Love the warrior archetype. But do you think an actual warrior, you are not an actual, I'm talking about the one in a war. Go back to Roman times with me, like warrior. Do you think an actual warrior is going to stand there in the middle of war and be fucking neutral? No. I'm just going to stab over here and then I'm just going to stab over there. And yeah, I hope I don't get killed.
I've done it again. Kevin is losing his shit over there. No, warriors are not neutral. Here's the thing, here's what you got to remember if you're like, "Okay, but how do I know when it's too much?" Here's the question, I always say this to all my clients, I'm saying it to you, when we're talking about emotion at trial, the question is and will always be, who does it serve? Who does it serve? If that emotion is about you not being able to control your shit and you're crying all over the jury because you can't handle shit, that's serving you. You're using the jury as some kind of drama dump. That's not what we're talking about. But when you are appropriately communicating in your voice as you tell stories and as you do devil's advocate questions, the egregiousness and the horribleness of what's happened here, that serves the jury. And that's appropriate.
We're not talking about you going up there and being a whole drama freak. We're talking about appropriately communicating what happened to this family and how horrible it was. You teach the jury by going first. Our resident vocal coach, Kristi Foster, does free sessions, free discovery sessions. Contact her at [email protected], and she works with trial attorneys on this very thing. Just know, if you have a discovery session, you're going to want to coach with her, and she's often full, so just prepping that. Just lots of trial attorney clients, because this is where we win cases, my friends. If you need an A + B = C, here it is. We need motivation, and when we motivate jurors with emotion, and when we do that, we get the verdicts. I don't know if that totally made sense, but that's the basic gist.
We need to motivate them. To motivate them, they need to have their emotions involved. To get their emotions involved, we need to be emotional. Not sloppy, emotional, but in service to jurors emotional, so that they know it is okay to feel like what's happening is egregious. So here's what you need to remember. One, think about where their brains are. When you're wondering, "Why aren't they reacting more? Are they in processing mode? Are they in gathering information mode? Where are they?" They're in gathering information mode, they're not going to be appropriately shocked yet. Two, really shocking information often creates an opposite response, so just know that's there. They might get more emotionally invested or upset once they hear that the defense is a straw man argument. Three, you got to back up your shit with emotion and let them feel what they need to feel that will properly motivate them to act.
Again, none of this has anything to do with the person who shared the story, but I wanted to share the story as an opener to having you be more emotional in court. Isn't that weird? Now, y'all are going to be like, "Sari's telling us to be more emotional in court." You know what I mean, don't misquote me, you greedy goblins. All right. I love you. I love you. Get in the crew. We have so much fun in there. Get your ass in there. Bye.
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