Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. talks about how to manage the teaching moment during trial testimony. When your expert witness or defendant is put on the stand with the goal of teaching the jurors something, your witness must meet the jury where they are. It's important to remember the concept of juror cognitive lag, which is that jurors will lag behind in their cognition and your witness has to understand that the jurors are not going to be able to follow along easily. So, the witness has to make adjustments to their teaching methodology and you and your witness have to practice the teaching process, perhaps up to 5-10 times.
Common mistakes that are made during the teaching moment of trial:
- Going too fast - have to remember that the jury can't ask questions or ask the witness to slow down.
- Visuals are not juror friendly - exhibits and demonstratives need to be easy for jurors to understand and follow; it's important to test the visuals before using them at trial.
- Talking above the juror's heads - have to define any terms that the witness is using that might be uncommon or unfamiliar to the jurors and use examples or analogies to help the jurors understand the concept the witness is trying to teach or explain.