Posted On: October 22, 2009

Basic Tips for a Persuasive Argument

In The 12 Secrets of Persuasive Argument, JoAnne A. Epps, Ronald J. Waicukauski and I identify twelve fundamental issues in formulating an argument; some of which one tend to think about less than others.

While most of us are aware of a few basic tips on successful arguments, like gathering appropriate, convincing evidence, focusing your goal, and maximizing delivery, it’s also important to pay attention to some of the more subtle elements of your particular situation. Strategy involves more than fact-gathering; there is the importance of emotion, style, and an engaging manner of speaking. If you want to set yourself apart from every other litigator in the field, you need to be keenly aware of the subtleties and complexities of the modern persuasive argument.

One of the things I think that’s ultimately most important in relaying an argument is the way you tell it. You can have all of the logical reasoning and unquestionable facts you want, but an audience won’t be persuaded without a little something more. Although a lot of us think of lawyer’s presentations as a performance, we need to really think about what that means. You need to appear as a personality, someone the audience can relate to and be interested in. You don’t have to tell jokes (although you could), but it helps to make your argument more personal. Relate the issue to yourself, or make allusions that your audience can follow, too. A jury is going to respond much more favorably to an advocate they perceive as being relatable, rather than some coldly logical litigator – and that favorable climate is going to make them a lot more receptive to any argument you’re going to make.

Ultimately, remember that you only get one first impression – so whatever tactic you choose to take in your presentation, be energetic, enthusiastic, and mindful of your objective.

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Posted On: October 17, 2009

Litigation Magazine Reviews Anatomy of a Trial

I was pleased to see that Litigation Magazine reviewed Anatomy of a Trial and called it an "excellent book for trial lawyers, young and old alike." Many thanks to Mark A. Neubauer.

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