Lessons From the Jury Room

Every day it seems another Blagojevich juror is speaking out about how he or she reacted to the government’s case and what federal prosecutors should keep in mind the next time around.  Their feedback has amounted to an ongoing focus group for the government.  What’s interesting is that the lessons from the jury room are so applicable to everyday life.  Here’s my distillation of what jurors are saying:

1.  Keep it simple.  Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.

2.  Show them the dots and then connect the dots for them.

3.  Distill the closing arguments to the essentials and concisely state the facts that support your case.

4.  Make the instructions shorter and easier to understand.

5.  Communicate in a way that helps engender a personal connection with the listeners.

The feedback is equally useful to the ex-governor’s lawyers who can now anticipate–and prepare for–a more concise template from the government.  But it’s also useful feedback to anyone who is called upon to persuade, cajole, or convince.  The settings may vary; the principles do not.  You don’t have to be a prosecutor or defense lawyer to put these lessons to good use. 

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  • Krys

    Point #1 brought back a vivid memory of my dad advising me on how to give a good speech. The old chestnut still holds true!