Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category
Every once in a while, I read something and think, “I could have written that!” and today it happened again. There is a deceptively simple blog post over at the Scientific American site that is actually a wonderful treatise on how to bring life to something complicated and esoteric so that people will actually understand and even care about what you are saying.
You likely remember Alan Alda from the TV show MASH but may not know that he has quite an interest in science and has spent a great deal of time and effort helping scientists figure out how to tell their stories of discovery in an engaging way. The blog post we are pointing you to today is written by a theater professional who works with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science but we think it’s a post easy to apply to high-tech patent or IP cases or other cases about an esoteric concept, a complex process, or medical mysteries that do not involve the living (as is the case with the upcoming blog post). .
The post tells the story of a scientist who’d won a contest for discovering something novel and significant but as he told the story of the discovery, it was dry and filled with jargon. This brief blog post shows how the scientist was helped tell a story that grabbed the emotion of the listener and you can even see before and after videos of the story itself.
Here’s the blog post: How to tell an engaging story of scientific discovery.
And here is the before and after video (with the differences in video quality explained in the blog post itself).
We like to say “every story is about people” and based on the blog post linked to above and the video showing you how the story presentation was changed—it looks like Alan Alda agrees.
Most of us don’t know how much we rely on smartphone use and this is likely a very important piece of information to help us understand why it’s so very hard for many jurors to stay away from their phones while serving jury duty. While only a small study (29 participants between the ages of 18 and 33 years all using Android smartphones), the disconnect between how much we think we use our smartphones and how much we actually use our smartphones is striking.
Here are just a few of the findings from the study:
Young people in this study used their smartphones for an average of five hours a day (which is 1/3 of the time they are awake).
The average time participants thought they used their phones was actually only about half the time they actually spent on their phones.
During their waking hours, on average they checked their phones 85 times a day.
They used their phones for internet searches, to check the time, to look at email and social media and to listen to music.
The duration of smartphone use was highly skewed with 55% of all uses less than 30 seconds in duration.
The researchers comment that research often relies on individual estimates of mobile phone use but this finding suggests those estimates should be interpreted with caution (and are likely very wrong). The researchers placed an app on each person’s phone so they could compare estimated use with actual use. The app simply calculated the duration the phone was active (using screen on/off as the indicator). In addition, the researchers asked participants to complete the Mobile Phone Problem Use Scale (MPPUS, a 27 item questionnaire that has “positive correlations with self-reported mobile phone use”). One of the issues we see with use of this scale is that it was developed in 2005 (before the current smartphone usage level) but the questions seem to still resonate with what we know of smartphone use in the current day.
Here are a few of the questions from the MPPUS:
When out of range for some time, I become preoccupied with the thought of missing a call.
Sometimes, when I am on the mobile phone and I am doing other things, I get carried away with the conversation and I don’t pay attention to what I am doing.
I have used my mobile phone to talk to others when I was feeling isolated.
I find it difficult to switch off my mobile phone.
The researchers say that, when compared to smartphone use from six years ago—the amount of time we spend on our phones has not increased. They also, like us, express concern with using the MPPUS in the current day as a measure of “problem” use since there is a difference between “heavy” use and “problem” use. Additionally, there was no correlation between scores on the MPPUS and either actual or estimated use of smartphones. It may be that the MPPUS has been outgrown as the technology changes. The researchers report, for example, that all but one of the participants in their study used their phone as an alarm clock and many indicated that they use their phone last thing before sleeping. As smartphones have added additional tools, many people are using them for the new functions.
Overall, the lesson from this research is that our estimated use of our smartphones is likely quite different from our actual use of them and that a measure developed in 2005 has a very different outcome today than it did in 2005 when mobile phone use was relatively new and researchers wanted to see when it might cause a problem for those who loved their phones too much. And from the perspective of litigation advocacy, we need to understand that for many of us, our own acknowledgement of just how much we depend on the ubiquitous smartphone severely underestimates our usage.
Andrews, S., Ellis, D., Shaw, H., & Piwek, L. (2015). Beyond Self-Report: Tools to Compare Estimated and Real-World Smartphone Use. PLosOne, 10 (10) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139004
We have a new article in the just uploaded new issue of The Jury Expert on lessons we’ve learned from mock jurors in patent and IP cases over the past 15 years. We hope you enjoy it and will go take a look! Here’s how the article begins:
Few types of cases involve more complexity—legal as well as technical—than intellectual property disputes. The nuances are often subtle, the distinctions (“is this code the same as that code?”) virtually impossible to understand without a graduate degree and years of experience. Naturally, jurors don’t have that kind of background, but they are determined to make sense of a dispute that is way over their heads. They want facts, they want testimony that they can trust, but ultimately they aren’t going to judge the case based on a granular understanding the technology. They judge the case with the facts in the background and their values and life experiences in the foreground. And what they have taught us over the last two decades is that what we understand about life’s lessons can guide remarkable understanding. Not only of a patent or a trade secret, but also about what makes society work better, and how values can direct decisions in even the most arcane situations.
We wanted to share some of those lessons–and in each lesson, we link to posts on our blog in the event you wish to learn more. We often find that our mock jurors can speak much more eloquently than we can on how to conduct the best presentations. One of our East Texas patent jurors who described himself (after hearing the first round of evidence in a large mock trial) as a “confused good ol’ East Texas boy” told us:
“I have no trouble judging what’s right and wrong. Just tell me the facts. Don’t sugarcoat it. And I’ll tell you what I think is just.”
That sort of common-sense and straightforward approach is how we typically try to structure case narrative in patent and IP cases. We want to bring the theoretical into practical and relevant lessons that make sense to jurors who have no knowledge of the patent process but have strong beliefs as to what they know is right and wrong. We are indebted to our mock jurors who have shared their decision-making processes with us and we hope they are both interesting and useful to you as well.
A new issue of the Jury Expert just published and it is full of articles worth reading (including one from us!). We hope you will enjoy it and since I edit the publication–please let me know if there is a topic you’d like to see covered in an upcoming issue.
by Alexis Knutson of Tsongas Litigation Consulting, and Edie Greene and Robert Durham (both from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. For years now, we’ve watched what we used to call the “Google mistrial”–trials being derailed as jurors rushed online to clarify, quell confusion, or demonstrate their superior knowledge to fellow jurors. Now, for the first time anywhere, we have a new 10-question measure to identify those jurors who just will not (by their own report) stay offline while on jury duty. Merrie Jo Pitera, a trial consultant and Mark Bennett, a trial lawyer, respond with thoughts on the new tool.
by Diane Wiley from NJP Litigation Consultants. Discussion of how to minimize the incidence of the “Google mistrial” has often included the idea that perhaps having jurors sign a document that they will stay off the internet (and not read written articles or watch TV news or listen to radio broadcasts relevant to the trial) could perhaps help curb curiosity. Diane summarizes several years worth of discussions and strategies shared by others in this article on use of a “juror pledge” which also contains several sample pledges that could be put into use immediately.
by Adele Mantiply, Michelle Jones and Stanley Brodsky–all from the University of Alabama discuss the experience of schadenfreude in the courtroom. Multiple parties involved in litigation will experience schadenfreude (pleasure at another’s pain or distress)–whether that is a result of a successful cross-exam, a judicial ruling in one’s favor, or a winning verdict against an opponent. Whether it is whooping, shouting, triumphant glares, or quiet pleasure at another’s loss–this article pulls back the curtain to expose this guilty pleasure.
by Alexis Forbes and Will Rountree, both of Bonora Rountree Trial Consulting and Research. As litigation increasingly reflects the global nature of business, increasing numbers of witnesses with limited English proficiency must be prepared to testify in courtrooms across the United States. Here, two trial consultants offer a clear path to education and preparation of the LEP witness since, “sometimes the performance of a single witness can make or break your case”.
Here’s an article by Mykol Hamilton of Centre College and Kate Zephyrhawke of Hillsborough Community College on the most effective structure for questions to elicit juror biases in survey instruments or during voir dire. The authors discuss the ways traditional language fails to elicit the prevalence of bias. Two trial consultants (Charli Morris and Christina Marinakis) respond with their reactions to the work and the authors issue a spirited reply in response.
by Christopher Peters from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and James Lampinen of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Two researchers explore the idea of allowing jurors to identify the facts of a case they find most important (and therefore want to hear about first) using a card sort technique. Christina Marinakis (a trial consultant) responds with her thoughts on how this tool might be used as an adjunct to more traditional pretrial research.
by Douglas Keene and Rita Handrich of Keene Trial Consulting. This practical article is the result of more than fifteen years of consulting on intellectual property litigation. Cases involving computer hardware and software, industrial processes, mechanical devices, logos and color schemes, tag lines and slogans—jurors have told us what is important to them about disputes involving patents, copyrights, trademarks, and creativity. We share 13 lessons gleaned from pretrial research, all with specific case-related examples of the importance of listening and of translating the esoteric and theoretical in a way that makes sense to everyday people.
by ASTC member trial consultants who travel a lot and pick up habits and tips along the way to help ease the grind. Visit our Road Warrior Tips page for new ideas and to review existing ideas submitted over time by traveling experts.
Squished in the midst of the US holiday season, this issue gives you a plethora of ways to kickstart your brain back into service by giving ideas about identifying “googling” jurors, minimizing that “googling”, guilty pleasures in the courtroom, lessons learned from mock jurors, and the best ways to prepare a limited English-speaking witness, design questionnaire and voir dire questions to elicit accurate responses on juror bias, and how to figure out what jurors want to hear first about your case. Enjoy (while finishing off the last of the leftovers).