Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Effective Communication Skills Jill Tolles, M.A.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Effective Communication Skills Jill Tolles, M.A."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effective Communication Skills Jill Tolles, M.A.
Special Court Jurisdiction June 7, 2013 Effective 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 bench Managing the courtroom

3 but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard
“I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” Alan Greenspan        

4 Why Communication Matters
Perceptions JPE’s Re-election Appeals

5 Nonverbal Communication Listening
Agenda Verbal Communication Nonverbal Communication Listening

6 Part 1: Verbal Communication Effectiveness

7 Clarity Comprehension Appropriateness Communication Goals
Firm but Fair Know your Role (and stick with it) The “Goldilocks Principle”

8 3 Elements of Effective Communication

9 Keep it Simple and Concrete Use the active voice (I, You v. “One”)
Material Keep it Simple and Concrete Use the active voice (I, You v. “One”) Avoid “Legalese” Define Terms Avoid Acronyms Alleged – not proven Appelant – a person who asks a higher court to reverse (or change) the findings of a lower court Bears a significant resemblance to – Resembles In 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” Conclusion Summary 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?
Application What areas of verbal communication are your greatest challenges? What three aspects of effective verbal communication can you implement?

13 Part 2: Listening and Nonverbal Effectiveness

14 Self-Test in Judicial Communication
Answer with “T” or “F” the 10 questions.

15 Question #1 Nonverbal 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 tongue Emotional outbursts, tirades Emblematic 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 similar Cues of lying—culture-bound After 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 #2 Listening training is the quickest, most reliable method for improving listening efficiency. False How speakers present information shapes listening faster and better. Implications for judges and lawyers? How do we get jurors to listen better?

20 Question #3 Recent research gives us a fairly reliable “dictionary” of body language cues and what they mean. False No “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 #4 Juvenile offenders with poor verbal skills tend to get heavier sentences than those with more mature, fluent skills. True May be other reasons for dispositions, but communication behavior is salient. Adult defendants: can fluency affect sentencing decisions?

22 Question #5 Accurate communication can rarely be achieved in a “one-way” (no feedback) process. False Usually achieved with effective verbal messages. Courtroom communication depends on one-way events.

23 Question #6 Jurors do poorly on comprehension tests administered immediately after pattern or uniform instruction on legal terms and principles True Rewriting improves comprehension Hearing and reading improves comprehension

24 The average adult attention span is about 20 minutes
Question #7 The average adult attention span is about 20 minutes True Or False Research 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 #8 After our basic communication styles and skills develop (by about age 25), very few of us are capable of changing them significantly False Key word is “capable” Lawyer to judge? Criminal court to family court? Managing trial vs. settlement conference? Judges do add skills, change styles

26 Question #9 Most judges and lawyers use different language and style when writing than when speaking. True Spontaneous oral composition—on the record. Judge’s written decision vs. transcript of judge’s spoken decision.

27 Question #10 The most important factor in one’s ability to interpret accurately the nonverbal messages of others is skill of disciplined observation. False Most important: Familiarity (with the person being observed). Judge observing a stranger vs. judge observing a person he/she knows well.

28 Listening & responding effectively

29 Utilize the Thought-Speech Differential Ask and Solicit Questions
Listening Utilize the Thought-Speech Differential Ask and Solicit Questions Use Paraphrasing (2-way) Control Interruptions

30 The thought Speech Differential
Process wpm Speak wpm Spare “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 Impartial Stay Calm Engage and Listen Express the Desire to Help Be Firm Disengage 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.”

36 Nonverbal Effectiveness

37 Eye Contact Facial Expressions Voice Posture Gestures Artifacts
delivery Eye Contact Facial Expressions Voice Posture Gestures Artifacts Time and Setting

38 Mock Trial Observations
Model Courtroom (2nd Floor) Present for maximum of 5 minutes Recorded (with or without feedback) Response from peers


Download ppt "Effective Communication Skills Jill Tolles, M.A."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google