SHOW & TELL

Long before I ever contemplated transitioning from litigator to mediator, I learned a valuable lesson about the power of communicating “visually” in mediation – one I have never forgotten.

I was defending a real estate brokerage in a nondisclosure claim for which plaintiff was seeking substantial damages. Counsel for plaintiff requested an opening joint session, to which I agreed. Using an exceptionally well-constructed computer presentation, he proceeded to preview what he was planning to show and tell the jury in his opening statement if the matter proceeded to trial.

Using photos, charts, graphics and computer-generated 3D models, he persuasively laid the foundation for an outcome far more favorable to his client than anyone else in the room had ever considered possible. The impact was powerful and immediate – especially on the claim representative attending on behalf of the insurance carrier. The matter was resolved within hours.

The effective use of visual aids altered the dynamics of that day’s mediation before I said a word. It was readily apparent that the mediator – who was highly regarded by both sides – found the arguments compelling. More importantly, the claim representative was so impressed with the persuasive abilities of plaintiff’s counsel and his command of technology that she immediately reconsidered the value she had placed on the claim — notwithstanding her complete and total confidence in my trial skills, I hasten to add!

While the use of computer-generated models and animation is obviously an effective way to present one’s case, one needn’t be technically sophisticated to accomplish the same objective. The use of enlarged color photographs; easily created graphs, charts and spreadsheets; video; social media posts or anything else that is visual in nature can have a significant impact not only on the way the other side evaluates your client’s claim, but also on the way the other side gauges your ability to effectively and persuasively communicate your client’s position.

One picture truly can be worth a thousand words. If you have the chance to do so in mediation, putting on a show can make quite a difference — and I tell you that from personal experience!

As always, it would be my pleasure to assist you and your clients in the dispute resolution process. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of service.

Best wishes for a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Peaceful 2018!

Floyd J. Siegal

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