People often believe that larger numbers are more authoritative and persuasive. Yesterday, I came across an example where the opposite was true: smaller numbers made the story more compelling. It was a short webmovie form the Miniature Earth project that presented the world’s statistics by reducing the global population to a community of only 100 people. The information was delivered in a brain-friendly way. We understand what a “million” is, but few of us have actually experienced a “million,” whereas most of us have been around a hundred people at some time. We comprehend things better when we can connect them to something that we have experienced. So, next time, you make a presentation to your client or prepare a closing statement for the jury, ask yourself: “How can I appeal to the experiences of my audience?”
Speaking of effective communication, do you know the feeling when you want to express an idea but the right word just escapes you? Welcome to the OneLook dictionary search and its reverse dictionary feature. It allows you to describe a concept in a few words, a sentence, or a question and get back a list of related terms. For example, you type in “being tried twice for the same crime,” and the dictionary search engine creates a list with the first item being “double jeopardy.” The first terms on the list are supposed to be the best matches. Using this feature, you can generate a list of related concepts and even solve crossword puzzles by typing in some letters and wildcards.
Last but not least, I’d like to thank the Legal Writing Prof Blog for featuring Lawsagna in its yesterday’s post. We’ll keep our quills sharpened, keyboards dusted and stay tuned to the latest news in the legal writing field.