Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Four Pillars of Persuasion

At the Hollands & Hart law firm blog, we find descriptions of four pillars of persuasion. They are commitment, community, complementarity, and reciprocity. Rather than explaining each, I will give examples of how each applies in the jury trial.

Commitment: Asking jurors, for example, to set aside any ideas they have about plaintiffs in general in order to look at this particular plaintiff is a good step. It won't reveal bias and shouldn't inform your strikes, but it will serve as an inducement for your juror to want to be consistent with what they have said.

Community: We also gain our opinions from what our community, and more specifically, our 'tribe' within that community, thinks. [Robert] Cialdini refers to one of his own studies that, "found that guests were 29 percent more likely to reuse their towels if they were told that most other guests chose to reuse the towels. The percentage went up to 39 percent when they heard the majority of guests who had stayed in that room reused their towels."

Complementarity: [Being liked] often boils down to similarity (e.g., 'we're both from the same city,' or 'we're both self-made individuals'), and can be augmented by sharing some humor or showing that you're human.

Reciprocity: For example, in voir dire, an attorney's own candor ('Here's what I'd be biased against,') can be reciprocated by greater candor from jurors. In opening statement, an open admission of some of the weaknesses in your case might be reciprocated by a greater willingness to see you as honest when you're talking about your strengths.

You can read more here.


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