When I’m trying a case that involves substantial money damages, I don’t tell my jury that it is their job to award my client a large sum of money for injuries caused by the defendant who did something wrong. After all, who am I to tell someone else what they should do.
What I do is empower my jury to do the right things.
I use an approach I first read about long ago in one of David Ball’s books. That is, I make sure my jury understands that they are in a unique position to listen to the evidence and if appropriate, step up and assist someone who needs there help. They are the decision makers who can right a wrong and when possible, fix the harm. I want my jury to know that under the American justice system, only they can hold the defendant responsible and accountable for his or her misguided or illegal conduct.
When I ask a judge to issue an injunction to stop a company from selling software that was designed around source code stolen from my client, I don’t ask the judge to stop all production and shut down the defendant’s company. What I do focus on is making sure the judge understands that the defendant company is benefiting from my client’s efforts and that’s not OK. I show my judge that the only way to help, right a wrong, and fix the harm that my client will experience from both a loss of revenue and damage to its reputation, is to stop everything until the true facts are ascertained.
When I’m defending an innocent person wrongfully charged with serious crimes, I don’t tell the jury that the prosecution is doing something wrong by prosecuting an innocent man for allegedly committing a terrible crime. What I do convey is that the best way to help find justice, right a wrong of an innocent man charged, and fix the harm that would be caused by a guilty verdict, is to come into court with an open mind. To listen to the evidence and at the end of the case, do the right thing no matter how hard it may be.
Successful communication is not about demanding, controlling or pointing fingers. It’s about empowering your audience to help, do the right thing, and fix or improve the situation.
This approach has worked very well for me over the past 30 years and when it comes to communicating your message and getting your audience, client or customer to take action, I think it will work well for you too.
Mitch Jackson is an award winning California trial lawyer who enjoys sharing 3 decades of communication tips. Mitch shares links to most of his updates on Twitter (@mitchjackson) and at his live streaming video site Streaming.Lawyer.
[original version posted in 2014]
— David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) June 3, 2014
— Bob Burg (@BobBurg) June 3, 2014
— Brian Fanzo (@iSocial_Fanz) June 3, 2014