Published on January 4th, 2013 | by Trey Cox0
Jurors Only Hear What They Understand
Lawyers need demonstrative exhibits so jurors can hear them. Today, jurors live in a grab-and-go world of CNN, USA Today, sound bites, commercials and one-page US magazine articles. In newsrooms, conference rooms and classrooms, key information is identified and visually organized to communicate both simple and complex ideas. When jurors enter a courtroom, the visual stimulation that they rely on in the outside world disappears. They are left to plow through a mass of orally delivered, artificially sequenced information about a topic they may have never dealt with.
Studies show that jurors are overwhelmed by the amount of information presented during a trial. They can become easily bored, confused and frustrated. If your evidence is not delivered in a format jurors can easily digest, your efforts (and your case) are lost. The best jury consultant of my generation, Jason Bloom, is fond of saying that “people only hear what they understand.”
This is a surprising insight for most lawyers, who think that jurors understand everything we tell them. But that is simply not true. You will only be heard if you deliver a message that people can understand. Thus, a trial lawyer’s ability to persuade depends first and foremost on the jury’s understanding the evidence. Demonstrative exhibits ensure that your jurors hear your arguments.
Unfortunately, how to make a trial presentation fun and interesting is not included in the law school curriculum. New lawyers are left to trial and error as the only means to learn effective courtroom communication techniques. The interactive and multisensory aspects of demonstrative aids make it easy for a jury to learn the important issues in the case, as well as increasing your ability to win at trial.