BUILDING BLOCK # 10

 

OPENING STATEMENTS

 

At the end of the course you should be able to perform the following with regards to opening statements:

 

1.                  Organize the opening statement around the principles of PRIMACY and RECENCY, i.e. starting with a concise statement of your theory of the case and ending on a high note.

 

2.                  Start the opening statement with a THEME, i.e. a bumper sticker that captures the essence of your case theory.

 

3.                  Tell a STORY of what happened in the case organized in such a way that it is:

 

        Short

 

        Simple

 

        Understandable

 

        Uses head notes, rhetorical questions and conclusory sentences to signal changes in topics

 

        Arranged around your theory of the case

 

        Begins with a theme sentenceBa bumper stickerBcapturing the essence of your case theory

 

        Puts the listener at the time and place

 

        Explains motives, psychological states, beliefs and feelings

 

        Avoids excessive use of AThe evidence will show . . . .@

 

        Anticipates the other side=s case

 

        Paints with a broad brush avoiding detail except on those points in dispute where credibility is at issue

 

        Avoids overstatement

 

        Incorporates exhibits and demonstrative aids where appropriate

 

        Avoids discussing damages, but not injuries

 

        Uses impact words and phrases; avoids legalese and tentative language

 

4.                  Use an interesting and dynamic STYLE by:

 

        Not reading your opening statement or relying excessively on notes

 

        Preparing and rehearsing

 

        Being in the moment, projecting belief

 

        Maintaining eye contact

 

        Moving for a purpose

 

        Using appropriate gestures

 

        Being dynamic by projecting energy, varying tone, pace and volume, using pauses

 

        Avoiding distracting mannerisms

 

5.                  Avoid ARGUMENT