The opening statement is where legal council start telling this story, building the picture for the Jury. Can you see what his goals are and the elements of his argument?
So think about your opening statement! What is it that you would like to prove about yourself?
Take a look at our trial case and the prosecutions opening statement. What are they trying to prove?
Take a look at your thoughts, and ask what are you trying to prove?
What is your opening statement? In a court of law both the prosecution begin by telling the court is "Your honor, ladies and gentleman of the jury, what the evidence will show is that ..."
They tell you their goal, and deal with the evidence to support this goal.
This goal is influenced by the facts of the case, because trying to prove something that is not supported by the evidence is doomed to fail.
But how the facts are dealt with is also informed by the goal, which then acts as a reference point, guiding how the evidence in the case is handled?.
WHAT IS MY CASE?
When defending someone at trial the objective is to get the best possible result for that person. Beginning with the end legal council works back, building a picture for the jury (or judge) that will support that OUTCOME.
So the initial step is understanding what the best result is, setting your goals, establishing your intent.
DESCRIBE YOUR CHARACTER
Would the person you are describing be capable of achieving the OUTCOME you want? Listen to how you talk to and about yourself, to your opening statement about yourself.
Take a look a the video and see how legal council describes his client and the defendant. Can you see how one sided? Now go back to Distortion Defense and your own Thought Journal and reflect on your self-talk, and ask yourself "Which side are you on?"
CHALLENGE THE PROSECUTION
Why it doesn't prove anything! We do not want you to ignore 'evidence' of things you cannot do, things you have done wrong or are not good at. Ignoring it would be like going to trial unprepared for what the opposing side's is going to present.
But this does not mean ACCEPTING their case and 'giving up. You owe it to yourself to consider the prosecutions case with a healthy dose of skepticism (even if you are acting as the prosecution).
BASED ON THE FACTS
Consider the evidence carefully, gathering details from all sources so that you can make a decision as to what outcome are possible, but also by reflecting on your values and beliefs so that these goals are meaningful to you.
If you look back at Perception and Distortion Defense, you will realise that you may not see all there is to see, and it is useful for you to expand your view, by asking others for input, and learning to look at things differently.
The video clip below - Defense opening in a criminal case illustrates this well and highlights the need to challenge the prosecution.
There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed."
— Ray Goforth
The very first part of choosing, is a choice of whose side you are on, and if you are constantly putting yourself down or criticizing yourself, you are on the wrong side.
WHAT DO YOU VALUE
Success means different things to different people
Consider the opening statement in the first case above and you will see Legal council presents his clients intentions as being based on a value. Can you see what that value is?
What values (and needs) drive your goals? While we recognize that FEAR may drive us, it is important that you clarify the outcome as something more than the fear.
UNDERSTANDING THE WHY
The why of what you do and want to do is hugely important because
It offers choices
It helps guides your response to the unforeseen
It provides the motivation and drive to pursue what it is you want.
WHAT ABOUT YOU DO YOU VALUE
If you cannot list things about yourself that you value, achieving things that you value becomes a case of compensation, a cover-up.
So find those things that you value and respect in yourself, and let that guide your goal setting and your journey.
EVERYTHING HAS TWO SIDES
The very fact that council can argue the same fact from the view of the prosecution and from the view of the defense highlights this fact.
Others with a different lens may see it differently. and respecting this will help you socially, so is something we will expand on in other aware.
How intention dictates choice : understanding the end game.
Lets look a some practical examples and specific considerations
Imagine you are on the opposing side in the two cases presented above and see if you can develop your own opening statement. Challenge your friends to do the same and see what arguments you come up with.
Did you address
Now start with your own opening statement, keeping in mind what the lecturer says in the video "Closing is a product of trial".
So what do you want to be able to say in the end, keeping in mind
1. What is possible (What principals play a role)
2. What are the facts
3. What is the prosecution likely to argue (what are the negatives)
Try to adopt the role of an investigator, gathering all the facts.
1. Record them
2. Follow leads, to see where they take you
3. Interview others (ask for their input) and
4. Where appropriate consult experts.
RECORD THE UNDERLYING VALUES
Name them, and write them down. In this way when you state your case, and imagine your closing argument, you can see if they support the intended values.
You will also see where certain values conflict with each other or with actions taken.
CLOSING IS A REFLECTION OF TRIAL
Remember that we all need to put what has happened in perspective, and that how we approach this is based on our HOW WE SEE OUR ROLE.
All to often we see our role at protector, guide, or teacher and our role then becomes to self-correct, or PROSECUTE. As DEFENSE our role is quite different, it is to see what is possible in spite of the case the prosecution puts forward.
WHEN FEAR DRIVES
FEAR Compels us to act, and is a necessary driver when faced with dangers, whether physical or emotional. but the goal is to escape the danger or stop the threat. The biggest challenge though is the destination or outcome is not consciously chosen. Instead we look at what we don't want, what we are looking to avoid.