Podcast - Listen for the Song in Your Witness' Head
In the latest episode of his "Powerful Witness Preparation" podcast series, "Listen for the Song in Your Witness' Head," litigation attorney Dan Small discusses the all-too-common disconnect between what a lawyer thinks their witness is thinking and what the witness is actually thinking. He explains that the key to building a successful relationship with a witness is to understand your own assumptions, learn their assumptions and then try to pull the two closer together. He uses Los Angeles trial attorney Sidney Kanazawa's metaphor of the song playing in our heads as a way to understand this gap: Both witness and counsel have a song in their heads, and each thinks the other knows that song. However, as a 1990 Stanford study literally showed, these songs amount to random clapping unless explained. Lawyers have to take the time to learn the witness' perspective, understand it and try to change it if necessary. Only by listening for the song in their head can counsel begin to effectively prepare a witness.