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Tune Your Witness’s Tone of Voice
By Dr. Shelley Spiecker
A few days ago I was helping prepare a successful CEO for testimony in an upcoming arbitration. The case boiled down to a dispute between two shareholders with one advocating for dissolution of their agreement and the other seeking to keep the agreement in force. My client’s testimony and credibility would be crucial to the case. A high self-monitor, he quickly picked up on my recommendations for posture, eye contact, and other key nonverbal credibility cues. One impediment remained – a tendency to end sentences with an upward vocal inflection. While infrequent, this “uptalking” had the overall effect of making him appear uncertain and less believable than desired.
Ironically, while vocal characteristics speak volumes in terms of impression formation, they can often be one of the more difficult aspects of witness presentation to change. Sager suggests that scientifically voice sounds different to the speaker than it does to the listener, a key reason it can be difficult for many witnesses to self-correct their vocal cues.
Golden Rules of E-Discovery: Gaining the Advantage in Litigation
By Philip Favro
The e-discovery frenzy that has gripped the American legal system over the past decade has become increasingly expensive. Particularly costly to organizations is the process of preserving and collecting documents. These aspects of discovery are often lengthy and can be disruptive to business operations. Just as troubling, they increase the duration and expense of litigation.
Because these costs and delays affect clients as well as the courts, it comes as no surprise that judges have now heightened their expectation for how organizations store, manage and discover their electronically stored information. Gone are the days when enterprises could plead ignorance for not preserving or producing their data in an efficient, cost-effective and defensible manner. Organizations must now follow best practices—both during and before litigation—if they are to navigate the stormy seas of e-discovery.