Themes, Openings, and Slides
Do jurors actually remember what is said during openings and closings? What percentage of trial testimony and evidence do jurors understand?
The research on the amount of information retained by jurors is optimistic suggesting that twelve member juries remember a great deal of evidence, argument and testimony. If you want to make sure that jurors remember and talk about the information that you deem to be important, there are certain things you can do. For example, you can make your case memorable by having one strong theme with three to four sub-themes.
People remember only a fraction of what they hear. They remember much more of what they see. If an exhibit is in color, it tends to emotionally grab the viewer.
Once you have your primary theme and sub-themes, you need to make some important decisions about how to communicate those themes. The research would suggest that a message presented with strong visual images are the most memorable. For the trial attorney, this means you should use a visual presentation that supports and enhances your themes.
Like everyone of us, jurors probably obtain much of their information from TV. They are accustomed to visual images. If you take time to create a PowerPoint presentation to communicate your themes, you will be communicating to jurors in a familiar and memorable way.
You should avoid the typical PowerPoint slide that has a category heading followed by several bullet points. We believe the narration of the story should be done exclusively by the attorney with the images on the slides designed to enhance jury encoding and memory.
You may be familiar with the method we have been discussing. It is known as the Story Model Technique. This technique is perhaps one of the best ways of communicating a large amount of information in a memorable manner. That is all you could really ask for – you want jurors to remember what you said when they go into the deliberation room.