Excellent communication skills is crucially important for expert witnesses who wish to excel. OSHA and safety expert witness Chip Darius explains.
Q. What factors make an expert witness likeable in the minds of jurors?
The expert needs to be more than simply likable. Jurors connect well when the expert is likable, honest, sincere, understandable, natural and relaxed. A natural and relaxed person has a wide vocal range – low to high, and loud to soft. He or she is calm and comfortable in the court room, but poised and interested in the proceedings. Facial expressions and gestures also change a lot, frowns and smiles, head and body positions, in response to the questions being asked and replies being given. An honest and sincere person knows the case very well, and believes he or she has important information to share but does not overstate or dominate the case. An understandable expert teaches well, using words, pictures and examples that accurately simplify complex or unusual topics. Jurors aren’t dumb, and they don’t like experts that make them feel dumb.
Mr. Darius will be speaking at the SEAK National Expert Witness Conference to be held on May 3-4, 2014 in Orlando, FL.
Persuasion Skills and Communication Techniques for Expert Witnesses
Chip Darius, OHST, CET
To be effective and successful, expert witnesses need both technical skills and the ability to communicate with and persuade the judge, jury, or other fact finder. Mr. Darius will explain and demonstrate what makes expert witnesses more persuasive and successful communicators. In this presentation he will explain and demonstrate specific techniques that experts can utilize to become a more persuasive expert witness before, during and after testimony including: 6-second size-up; using powerful and memorable language, analogies, and metaphors; optimizing teaching skills and opportunities; using demonstrative aids and evidence; verbal and non-verbal communication; focusing on the messages between the lines; and managing meta-communication.
Chip Darius, OHST, CET is an OSHA / Safety Consultant and Trainer with over 20 years’ experience serving clients in general industry, construction, utilities and emergency services. Mr. Darius is an Instructor for the OSHA Training Institute Region 1 Education Center, where he has been teaching courses on OSHA regulations for over a decade. Mr. Darius is an experienced Forensic Expert Witness and Litigation Consultant in catastrophic injury, fatality and personal injury matters. He has experience in both plaintiff and defense cases, in state and federal matters. He has testimony experience in depositions and at trials. Mr. Darius has conducted training at international, national, regional, state and local conferences and seminars. He earned BS and MA degrees from the University of Connecticut. Mr. Darius has also been a certified Emergency Medical Technician for 34 years.