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JURY SELECTION 101: THE OPENING

I recently reported for jury duty, despite knowing with my time as a prosecutor, later as a defense attorney and teaching lawyers online nationally about jury selection, the chances of me being selected were slim to none. On this occasion, I didn’t even get asked any questions, but I did have two days to watch the process. I saw a few things that could have been improved. Actually, many things. In this article, I’m going to only focus on the beginning of questioning, and provide a few quick tips for…

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How to Compete at a Moth StorySLAM

The Moth just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Founder George Dawes Green, a storyteller from the American South, used to spin tales in the summer to friends, while moths flocking to his porch light. He moved to New York and took his tradition along. Now, there are 500 storytelling programs each year in the U.S. and abroad. The Moth Radio Hour is heard on 400 radio stations and is available as a podcast, with 1 million listeners. One of the ways to get your story told is to compete at a…

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Lawyers: How to Win Cases with Storytelling

  Remember being a child and having your favorite book read to you by a parent? Or hearing someone tell a funny family story that is often repeated? How about telling your friends about something great that happened over the weekend? Storytelling is the oldest form of narrative communication by humans. It's wired into our DNA. Every human culture uses stories in an attempt to explain and make sense of the universe. The fastest way to connect to a jury when presenting your case is to use stories. When you talk…

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7 Steps to Promoting a Bestselling Book

If you're a writer, it's likely you've spent countless hours conceptualizing, writing, and editing your book. You've also probably spent as much or more time getting it published. Now what? Brooke Warner, publisher at She Writes Press, recently spoke at Publishers and Writers San Diego about the value of building an author platform. She shared an analogy that I loved, saying, "Some writers want to hole up as they write, only to emerge after the book is done or published with the expectation that the readers will come. But not…

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How To Be a More Effective Communicator Than the President

I've been a fan of Marc Maron's WTF podcast quite awhile and was surprised President Barack Obama had decided to visit Marc's garage in LA and give an interview. Then I listened to it. And I got annoyed. (And for anyone who thinks I'm going down Politics Road, sorry to disappoint.) President Obama is known for giving moving and commanding speeches. However, delivering a prepared speech (read from a teleprompter, notes or even from memory) is a lot different than answering extemporaneous questions or giving an interview. If you want…

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Adding Drama to Public Speaking

Every time we talk, we use different tones of voice, gestures and body language. When it comes to public speaking, it's no different. After determining what message you want to convey and crafting a speech, be it inspirational, educational or humorous, the hard work has just begun, because it's time to determine how to present your material. To give perspective, imagine that tonight you're attending a charity event where the keynote speaker is going to advocate for those who suffer from Alzheimer's. The speaker comes on stage, stops in the…

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5 Quick Tips to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking

Jerry Seinfeld said   “According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Fear of public speaking trumps death! If you're one of many who feel like this, how do you change it? 1. Start small. If you consider it, you're engaged in public speaking all the time. You talk to friends, family, co-workers,…

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DEATH BY POWERPOINT

As a speaker, Toastmaster and public speaking/trial skills coach, I get to see lots of presentations. What's the one thing that makes me want to put my head in my hands? POWERPOINT This product should come with a warning label: IF MISUSED WILL PUT AUDIENCES TO SLEEP OR MAKE THEM WANT TO DO VIOLENCE. Think back to when you were (or maybe still are) trapped in a classroom at the mercy of a teacher who drones on while pointing to the board and reading things verbatim that he/she has written…

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Beta Traps and Crocodile Brains

Are you job interviewing in this down economy? Pitching a book idea?  Picking a jury? Trying to convince a loved one they really need to go to that football game with you? Raising venture capital?Life's about sales, no matter if it's business or personal relationships. I recently read a book by Oren Klaff called Pitch Anything! Klaff chased down every useable theory in the field of Neuroeconomics and formulated an answer to both how he could better forge a connection with the people he was pitching to, which led to multi-million dollar…

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