Including a timeline and checklist
Using technology to present a case at mediation or trial can be great. A client’s story gains strength and credibility with pictures, audio and video. Impeachment of a witness with deposition video playback can be devastating.
Equally devastating is the moment when you connect your laptop to give that critical presentation and there’s nothing but a blue screen. And there you are, holding your remote in your hands, saying, “Well, we have a picture of this injury in the presentation and if the projector was working you would see…”
How do you avoid failures like this in front of decision-makers? By remembering two key points. First, proper planning prevents poor performance, commonly known as the Five P Principle (or depending on your background, Six P Principle.) Second, always have a fallback. Because Murphy’s Law always hops into your briefcase even if you’ve forgotten everything else.
Our favorite methods for success are old-fashioned. We use a timeline to help us plan. We use a checklist to make sure we have everything. And we have a back-up plan. We recognize that not every situation requires this level of preparation and that sometimes one has to prepare in a much shorter period. Adjustments and adaptations are always necessary. Recognize that less time requires greater focus in order to avoid failure.
100 days before presentation:
Visit the location where you will be presenting and identify:
Is it a pre-wired facility with projection, screens and audio?
If yes, what do I need to plug into it properly?
If yes, is the equipment decent enough to use or should I bring my own?
Check video and audio for quality of presentations
If yes, can everyone see the screen?
Can jurors read the small print on an economic report from their seats or should I bring in my own screen?
Are there easily accessible power sources?
Do they work?
Do they have an audio system that I can plug into?
Will the audio system present crisp sound that can be heard by everyone?
If you don’t know exactly what courtroom you will be assigned to, check out a couple of courtrooms to give you a flavor of the facility. Same with a mediation environment.
90 days before presentation:
Identify all the equipment and software you need [see Technology Checklist]
If you are missing anything, identify ways you will purchase or borrow the equipment
50 days before presentation:
If you are purchasing equipment make sure it has arrived
If you are borrowing equipment, make sure you have borrowed it for a test run
Do a complete in-office dry run with all equipment and a test performance
Send back or replace anything that is not working
Purchase any additional parts that were missing you did the dry run
15 days before presentation:
Do a final inventory to make sure you have all the equipment you need
5 days before presentation:
Do a run-through of the presentation both for feedback and technical testing
1 day before presentation:
Set-up and test equipment and back-up plan. Time the back-up plan to make sure it can be up and running in less than 10 minutes if you experience failure.
Day of presentation:
Arrive 1.5 hours before the presentation and do a set-up. Test all equipment, including audio and video playback. Test the back-up system.