Number 13 of 21 for 21 – Forty Second Rehearsal: Part 1

A recent piece 3 Nearly Effortless Ways to Improve Your Memory and Recall, (Backed by Neuroscience) in Inc. Magazine – Sept 2021 made me wonder about its application and how it might benefit attorneys preparing for trial presentations. In particular, I was struck by point no. 3 – Rehearse for forty seconds in order to increase your odds of storing a memory in a lasting way (thereby making it actionable).

I will continue to study the science of the forty-second duration recommendation. Meanwhile, I am going to add the tip to our trial toolbox. This is why: Having observed countless Openings and Closings, for both courtroom and mock courtroom delivery, the ones I found most persuasive and relatable were the ones delivered with presence (direct eye contact) and without reading.

There are varied but distinct styles of rehearsing for courtroom appearances and presentations. We have even published our thoughts on its importance in detail – Art of Rehearsing for the Courtroom. In reality, the “dry-run,” or “read-through,” take up precious time and are often considered a luxury. As a result, those sessions are truncated at best, skipped altogether at worst. Conducted while the content is still being written (or the record built for Closing), while text messages are being exchanged, while demonstratives are being edited and while witnesses are in varying degrees of preparation up against tight, always shifting deadlines, the sanctity of these sessions often gets lost.

The occasional attorney will come along and jump off the proverbial diving board into the pool of well-honed delivery, but it is rare. Thinking on her feet while eloquently arguing for her client because she wasn’t afraid of full-length rehearsals when the pressure was on, is a thing of beauty to us veterans in the trial consulting field. But it seems rarer and rarer in a pandemic laden environment. Reliance on technology not only allows for reading, it encourages it.

Resist the temptation to read if you want to persuade especially when appearing via video. Trying the forty second idea as a starting point, is certainly worth a try.

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