Storytelling is the ultimate tool of persuasion.

Storytelling is knowing that everything you're saying, from the first sentence to the last -  is leading to a singular goal.

Aristotle, Plato, Buddha, Jesus - All storytellers. 

So how does storytelling work?

We are wired for stories.  A story, if broken down into the simplest form, is a connection of cause and effect.  We think in narratives all day long, and we make up stories in our heads for every action and conversation.

Challenge 1: Constantly think of yourself as a storyteller.  Tell stories, get other people to tell their stories.

For later reading - The Secrets of Storytelling, by Jeremy Hsu

The science of storytelling:

Neuroscientist Uri Hasson put several listeners and a storyteller in a fMRI machine.

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The big obstacle to telling an effective and persuasive story is that we know too much about the cases we spend years working up.

The challenge for the trial lawyer and storyteller is to discern the story from the mountain of facts mastered during discovery.

Challenge 2: Tell both sides of the story of your case, hitting all of the elements below in a compelling way, in two minutes or under.

The elements of a really good story are:

1.  A clear conflict.

2.  At least one character/witness the jury can root for.

3.  A resolution that fits in with the jury's notion of fairness.

But just telling a story isn't good enough.  We need our stories to be unforgettable.

Challenge 3: Use technology to make your story unforgettable.  

Our brains can not ignore novelty.

Dr. Martha S. Burns - "The New Brain Science of Learning"


Virtual Reality was actually used in a courtroom back in 1992.  Stephenson v. Honda Motors Ltd. of America (Cal. Super. Case No. 81067, 25th June 1992) is generally accepted to be the first case to admit evidence using virtual reality. The attorney convinced a California Superior Court of the need to use an interactive virtual reality simulation to help a jury understand the nature of the terrain over which an accident victim chose to drive her Honda motorcycle.

The technology has obviously improved since 1992.

With today's virtual reality, Margaret won't just be looking at a picture, she will be transported to the scene.

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How virtual reality works:

The user wears a headset.  The headset allows the wearer to fully immerse in a virtual environment no matter which way the head is turned.  

The headset's lenses focus the video and create a 3-D image as the user looks up, down, and around.

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How do we get this into evidence?