If you happened to be on the planet Earth yesterday, you could not have missed hearing about the iPad2. "Thinner. Lighter. Faster." Steve Jobs is the master communicator and you can learn something here about your case if you are a lawyer or a client. Those words tell his story – "this thing is amazing!" Steve’s choice of words can help us all be better in front of a jury. Here is my take-away as I am preparing for a month long trial that starts a month from now.
First – every story needs a simple "punch line" that is memorable and hits the heart. Remember Johnny Cochran in the OJ trial: "If the glove won’t fit, you must acquit." They did. That line was so memorable that jurors later said it summarized the entire case. Work on this part of the case and come up with a memorable theme statement.
Second – use simple words. I sometimes have clients who want to talk about "the party of the first part," or who tell me an issue is "mute." I love that one – and it isn’t just clients who don’t get the "moot" or "mute" point. Steve Jobs delivers great messages with simple, real words. No jargon. We lawyers really do not get this point. Our audience (jurors) are used to hearing real words, not law words. So whether you are a lawyer or a client, keep the words real.
Third – get off your seat and practice, practice, practice. Jobs looks like a natural but those around him tell another story. That one hour presentation likely took twenty hours of practice. The problem here for most lawyers is that our clients do not want to spend money for us to practice. Given my choices, I would rather practice and get it right because usually, my client’s liberty and money is on the line. Do not shortcut your case prep here!
So there we have it. "Thinner. Lighter. Faster." Not me after this week of vacation on my favorite beach. But what a great tag-line for the iPad2. And since I think the iPad is a great trial tool, the iPad2 is soon to join me in a courtroom near you. More on using Apple technology in trial in a later post.
Have you been preparing your story for trial? Got a killer theme and tag-line? Work it and get ready for trial!