Number 15 of 20 for 20 – Forging Ahead

Suann Ingle

Suann Ingle

Presenting live and in person, in the new normal, is a challenge for a myriad of reasons. Most of those reasons are consistent with what the rest of the world is experiencing. As we move forward with masking, sanitizing and distancing (all in differing degrees based on where you live) it is hard not to wonder the impact all three will have on our cognitive loads. For instance, donning a mask makes it seem difficult for some people to see or hear too. It’s as if the deprivation of one sense unexpectedly affects the ability of another.

When studying comprehension and commitment to a plaintiff or defendant during a mock jury research exercise, these challenges become more acute and disorienting. At least that’s what I thought would happen as we moved forward recently with a group of over 40 mock jurors, masked and ready to deliberate.

Instead, in a testament to the adaptive nature of our humanity, I witnessed engagement and debate and the customary enlightenment that happens when a group collectively shares observations and opinions. Somehow, they got there, despite a complicated verdict form in a complicated civil dispute.

The masks and the distance faded into minor distractions when each person made their points or offered their recollections. Perhaps seen as the price one pays for participation and human connection after a long period of confinement, no one seemed bent on breaking the rules.

As it turns out, the challenge was mine and I needed to realize my job was the same – looking for aha moments even if sometimes muffled by the PPE.

And so, like our jurors, I will forge ahead.

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