Presentation on theme: "Effective Communication Skills Jill Tolles, M.A."— Presentation transcript:
1 Effective Communication Skills Jill Tolles, M.A. Special Court JurisdictionJune 7, 2013Effective Communication Skills Jill Tolles, M.A.
2 “Bench Communication” Observations What are the greatest challenges or mistakes you have observed judges make?What are the most effective strategies you have observed?Presenting from the benchManaging the courtroom
3 but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard “I know you thinkyou understandwhat you thought I saidbut I’m not sure you realize that what you heardis not what I meant.”Alan Greenspan
4 Why Communication Matters PerceptionsJPE’sRe-electionAppeals
5 Nonverbal Communication Listening AgendaVerbal CommunicationNonverbal CommunicationListening
9 Keep it Simple and Concrete Use the active voice (I, You v. “One”) MaterialKeep it Simple and ConcreteUse the active voice (I, You v. “One”)Avoid “Legalese”Define TermsAvoid AcronymsAlleged – not provenAppelant – a person who asks a higher court to reverse (or change) the findings of a lower courtBears a significant resemblance to – ResemblesIn compliance with – comply, follow
10 Organization Introduction Body Conclusion Opener Credibility and Goodwill (“Firm but Fair”)Body“Courtroom Expectations”“Overview of Process”“Ruling and Explanation”ConclusionSummary and Questions
11 Mental Maps and Signposts “The first thing I need to find out is whether this court has jurisdiction (that is, the right to decide this case.Then I need to find whether the financial situation of the parent who does not have custody has changed, and if it has,I need to decide what change in monthly support would be appropriate.” (Adapted from Albrecht, et al, p. 46)Repeat and Summarize Often
12 What areas of verbal communication are your greatest challenges? ApplicationWhat areas of verbal communication are your greatest challenges?What three aspects of effective verbal communication can you implement?
14 Self-Test in Judicial Communication Answer with “T” or “F” the 10 questions.
15 Question #1Nonverbal facial cues—especially eye contact—are generally unreliable indicators that a speaker is lying.True“Most liars can fool most people most of the time.” – Paul Ekman, Telling Lies
16 Best clues for lie detection Slips of the tongueEmotional outbursts, tiradesEmblematic slips (inadvertent nonverbal cues)Micro-expressions (1/4 second emotional flashes
17 Problem: Detecting lies in the courtroom The best liars show nonverbal behaviors of the truth-teller“Anxiety/fear” cues and “deception” cues are very similarCues of lying—culture-boundAfter telling the same lie often, the liar comes to believe it—and give truth- telling cues
18 “Liars are most often tripped up by verbal, not nonverbal behavior “Liars are most often tripped up by verbal, not nonverbal behavior.” Zuckerman & Driver, 1985
19 Question #2Listening training is the quickest, most reliable method for improving listening efficiency.FalseHow speakers present information shapes listening faster and better.Implications for judges and lawyers? How do we get jurors to listen better?
20 Question #3Recent research gives us a fairly reliable “dictionary” of body language cues and what they mean.FalseNo “nonverbal dictionary”; meanings are in people—who observe nonverbal behavior and assign meaning.Implications: Jury experts during voir dire? Witness credibility? Perceived judicial attitudes?
21 Question #4Juvenile offenders with poor verbal skills tend to get heavier sentences than those with more mature, fluent skills.TrueMay be other reasons for dispositions, but communication behavior is salient.Adult defendants: can fluency affect sentencing decisions?
22 Question #5Accurate communication can rarely be achieved in a “one-way” (no feedback) process.FalseUsually achieved with effective verbal messages.Courtroom communication depends on one-way events.
23 Question #6Jurors do poorly on comprehension tests administered immediately after pattern or uniform instruction on legal terms and principlesTrueRewriting improves comprehensionHearing and reading improves comprehension
24 The average adult attention span is about 20 minutes Question #7The average adult attention span is about 20 minutesTrue Or FalseResearch in 1970’s – 20 min.Research in 2000—8 min.Implications for messages to laypeople? Length of opening statements? Direct examinations? Jury instructions?
25 Question #8After our basic communication styles and skills develop (by about age 25), very few of us are capable of changing them significantlyFalseKey word is “capable”Lawyer to judge? Criminal court to family court? Managing trial vs. settlement conference?Judges do add skills, change styles
26 Question #9Most judges and lawyers use different language and style when writing than when speaking.TrueSpontaneous oral composition—on the record.Judge’s written decision vs. transcript of judge’s spoken decision.
27 Question #10The most important factor in one’s ability to interpret accurately the nonverbal messages of others is skill of disciplined observation.FalseMost important: Familiarity (with the person being observed).Judge observing a stranger vs. judge observing a person he/she knows well.
29 Utilize the Thought-Speech Differential Ask and Solicit Questions ListeningUtilize the Thought-Speech DifferentialAsk and Solicit QuestionsUse Paraphrasing (2-way)Control Interruptions
30 The thought Speech Differential Process wpmSpeak wpmSpare “Brain Space”Spare “Brain Space”
31 Ask and Solicit Questions “Give me a little more information about…”“Help me understand…”“Give me an example…”
32 Paraphrase“You are required to sign a piece of paper promising the court to do certain things. If you do not keep your promise, the consequences are… Are you clear what you need to do? What is that?”
33 Control Interruptions “When you speak, I will be sure that you are not interrupted either.”“Remember one of the ground rules…”“I’m going to call for a recess (or continuance) in this case.”Holding up your hand.
34 Responding to emotions Stay ImpartialStay CalmEngage and ListenExpress the Desire to HelpBe FirmDisengage when Necessary
35 Disengagement and saying “no” “I’m sorry, but we are simply out of time.”“I have to leave enough time for other people here in the courtroom.”“I would like you to talk with the (court staff) person while I move on to the next case.”“I am going to take a short recess.”