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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting The importance of developing a strong narrative in your case is well-established by science and by what we have all observed in the actions of jurors in real cases. In spite of the law that may be against you, in spite of the facts that may be against you, a high-quality narrative can win a case. We've written about this extensively and articles like Storytelling Proven to be Scientifically More Persuasive, 5 Essential Elements of Storytelling and Persuasion, and $300 Million of Litigation Consulting and Storytelling Validation provide a good background on the power of story, whether in a case tried to a jury or to a judge. Great litigators don't push back on the need for story anymore. Indeed, they arrive at our doors in quest of ways to fine-tune their narrative and make it more convincing. We help them by testing any number of possible approaches, by conducting practice opening statements, and by developing a persuasive visual presentation for the litigators. One bit of pushback that we do continue to hear is about injecting emotion into a case. Particularly from defense-side clients, we hear that all that’s needed and appropriate is a narrative – but that in this particular case, the narrative need not be compelling and emotional.

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  by Alex Brown Director of Operations A2L Consulting Commitment (and Consistency) (see Part 1 about reciprocity here) In 1971, Charles Kiesler wrote a book called The Psychology of Commitment. In it he describes various experiments designed to understand human motivations. Kiesler referred to one of his experimental results as “the boomerang effect.”  The idea is that if a person has committed to something and is then attacked for his position, he or she is likely to increase his or her commitment, even if the commitment was not at all strong in the first place. This brings up related questions of how and why people become more extreme in their attitudes.  Is it simply to justify their past behavior, or is it because people really want to be right? In many circumstances, a person might seek out others as social support or find outward behaviors that justify his or her position.  Basically, if you get someone to commit to something, they will usually stick to that commitment while under attack and will look for allies to their cause or position. As Cialdini notes, when a commitment is made public, one is likely to stick to it. In view of this, it should be obvious why this finding can make an important persuasion tool for litigators. We strongly believe that you can win or lose a case in opening statements. In an opening statement, it is your responsibility to:

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How To Emotionally Move Your Audience

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