Part of being an attorney is being an expert communicator. Your job is to not only know your case, your material and your presentation well enough to masterfully deliver it to an audience that could include a judge, jury and your opponent, but also to be able to pick up on the subtle signs that your message is being received and understood as you intended. While the latter may often feel like it is out of your control, you have a much better chance of your case being received the way you want it to by taking the necessary extra steps in your presentation.
Part of communicating your point and making your case effectively often involves putting an emphasis on the sensory experience of your audience, specifically, the jury. While your carefully prepared words and dramatic physical presentation will definitely have an effect, many attorneys are finding that by carefully integrating a heightened sensory experience in the courtroom, they are creating much more subjectivity, which tends to help them tell their story more effectively.
Anyone who spends ample time in a courtroom can appreciate the fact that those in attendance can often become sponges for any type of excitement or arousal from the mundane proceedings. By adding sound bites, visual displays, simulations, animation and by focusing more on the human senses when orating a point, you are creating a more human experience that invites the jury and anyone else listening to see things from your point of view.
Take for example a negligence case from just a few years ago where the plaintiff had suffered serious hearing injuries from and exploding tire he was working on. Not only did the plaintiff suffer partial hearing loss and severe tinnitus, but he also developed hyperacusis, which is an extreme sensitivity to sound.
During the trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer had each member of the jury listen through headphones to sounds that an audiologist had created that were similar to the sounds that the plaintiff was now experiencing due to the accident. In all, each member of the jury took turns putting on headphones to hear the six different digital sound files in each ear at three different frequencies. 2 of the jurors asked to listen to the sounds again during deliberation. In the end, the jury awarded the plaintiff over a million dollars in damages for his pain and suffering.
This is just one example of many where an attorney, using a piece of sensory evidence, was able to successfully convey his client’s experience directly to the jury. These were injuries that were otherwise difficult to put into context and almost impossible to describe in words alone.
In today’s world where so much emphasis is placed on sensory experience, it is a mistake to think that these influences do not belong in the courtroom. Build your courtroom strategy around the human senses and experience to more effectively tell your story and get your point across.