Brain

Handwriting, Memory, and Horizontal Notes

by Brian K. Johnson Last fall Scientific American MIND magazine featured an article about handwriting and memory. It got me thinking about the value of carefully creating notes for public speaking with pen and paper. “Minds encode the relative locations of words and paragraphs, a blueprint of thought without which text may be less differentiated, […]






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Well-spoken at 94: Justice John Paul Stevens

To see and hear an extremely well-spoken retired Supreme Court Justice, click on the link below. Now 94 years old, Justice Stevens is better spoken than most of us in our prime. Does a lifetime of writing, speaking, and thinking carefully about language lead to such erudition? How can the rest of us emulate his […]






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A Simple, Reliable Script for Impeachment by Prior Inconsistent Statement

Witness_impeachment

by Marsha Hunter Listening to the direct examination of opposing counsel’s witness, you hear what you are fairly certain is an inconsistency from his deposition. Your internal “Impeachment Alert” goes off in your head because it is a significant difference. You begin to consider your options. Looking at the deposition, you confirm that you are […]






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Book Review: Willpower

by Marsha Hunter At the NALP Professional Development conference last December, Professor William Henderson mentioned in passing a 2011 book called Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. He gave it such a hearty recommendation that I jotted down the title, bought it, and devoured it on a long plane ride. By Roy F. Baumeister and […]






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Human Factors for Lawyers: Jet Lag and Sleep

by Marsha Hunter For those of you who travel frequently, I’ve found some new resources for managing jet lag. My favorite right now is called JetLagRooster, which allows you to input your travel plans to help manage that groggy feeling of time-zone confusion. Changing the time you rise in the morning can minimize jet lag. […]






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Quiet Body, Active Brain

Monday morning, in Federal Court, I watched a lawyer stand perfectly still and deliver an opening statement with virtually no fluency errors. He spoke in an assertive, respectful voice that could be heard easily in the courtroom. His eye contact with the judge was steady. The pace of his language made him easy to understand. […]






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The Power of Silence in Public Speaking

It’s not unfair to say that lawyers like to talk, and many are especially good at it. But the flip side of being a good talker is being a good listener. The very silence that your client may need to understand what you are saying is the kind of silence that allows her the time […]






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Nailing Your Direct Examination

by Marsha Hunter You might be interested in my article in the Fall 2012 Newsletter for The Woman Advocate, American Bar Association Section of Litigation. Brian Johnson and I are hoping to improve the way we teach direct examination in trial skills programs, and we’ve been intensely focusing on it for over a year. It […]






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A Pox on Teleprompters for Public Speaking

by Marsha Hunter While the Democrats get their convention underway in Charlotte, I have a couple of things to say about my least favorite public speaking tool, the teleprompter. I hate them and wish they had never been invented. At last week’s Republican convention, the speakers used them throughout, of course. There is no other […]






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Is Um an Honored Part of Speech?

Is um an honored part of language? In July a student of mine recommended an essay in Slate called An Uh, Er, Um Essay in Praise of Verbal Stumbles. He asked me if I’d heard the theory that um is a useful, time-honored part of language worthy of preservation. Perhaps the lawyer’s common goal of […]






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