About this blog

After more than 20 years operating a trial consulting practice together as co-founding partners of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. and Magnus Graphics, Inc., and more than 25 years of marriage, Dr. Melissa Pigott and David Fauss decided to share some of their thoughts, experiences, pet peeves, and perspectives on operating a small “mom & pop” business. The intended audience for their writings is other business owners, as well as employees of small businesses. Trial consulting is a professional service business, as was David’s photography business. There are many unique issues faced by professional service providers; Melissa and David share some of their insights on running a successful business.

Self monitor – listen before speaking

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 16, 2017

Category: Careers, Common Courtesy, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Litigation Tips, Psychology

Sometimes, without intention, a theme emerges in writing these posts. Today is a case in point as I’ve written about egos and bragging. Along the way I’ve mentioned “self monitoring,” a term from psychology that Melissa can, and I’m sure will, define better than I can. My take away on describing it is one’s ability […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 16, 2017

Category: Careers, Common Courtesy, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Litigation Tips, Psychology

Self monitoring was defined in the 1970s by Dr. Mark Snyder, a social psychologist, as the degree to which an individual is aware of, and in control of, his/her self presentations. Self monitoring is a personality trait that is possessed by everyone, although in varying amounts. Just as with other personality dimensions, most people are […]

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It ain’t bragging if it’s true

The late bass player extraordinaire, Jaco Pastorius, used to introduce himself as “The world’s greatest bass player.” To anyone who took offense, he replied, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.” I am fortunate to possess high self esteem. I know what I am good at and, just as important, I am aware of areas in […]

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Okay, for starters, Melissa does make great spaghetti, but that is not the point of this post.  The point is how to get through life when one knows they are the best at, or at least really good at, something.  It seems that, in many western cultures, being proud of one’s abilities, achievements, or possessions, […]

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Lawyer Egos

When writing the post about “It ain’t bragging if it is true,” I paused for a minute thinking about how a high impression of oneself – a big ego – is necessary in some settings. Mick Jagger would not be strutting his stuff in front of thousands of people if he didn’t have the ego […]

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Although my job working for lawyers with big egos can sometimes be challenging, it also provides me with many fun experiences. When I am in the presence of attorneys who have over sized egos, I search for ways to find common ground, as a way to foster rapport with them so that they will know […]

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When not to smile

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 7, 2017

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Common Courtesy, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work

I wrote in a previous post that I often smile at strangers while I am looking them in the eye, particularly if they appear threatening. In this situation, I am using my smile as a way to deflect a negative event. In general, however, I am not a smiley person. I have often been criticized […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 7, 2017

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Common Courtesy, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work

Smiles, as simple as they are, can be inappropriate or misunderstood. Smiling, as a way to share positive vibes, is, perhaps, a one way action. It may not, as Melissa noted, be appropriate to expect a smile in return. The world can be a difficult place for many – and smiling may not be in […]

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Jury Duty

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 2, 2017

Category: Jury Behavior, Jury Deliberations, Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting, Trial Science

Jury duty is one of those things that brings up a groan from many people – not unlike the idea of going to a dentist. Of course, we at Magnus, and the clients we support, depend on jurors, or rather prospective jurors, to show up to participate when summoned. That, however, is not the focus […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 2, 2017

Category: Jury Behavior, Jury Deliberations, Litigation Tips, Psychology, Trial Consulting, Trial Science

I have lost count of the number of times people ask me how to “get off” jury duty. Despite knowing my occupation and perhaps, in spite of knowing my occupation, these individuals persist in believing I am going to tell them to look and/or act strangely, say ridiculous things, or provide them with other ways […]

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Smile at people

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 31, 2017

Category: Common Courtesy, Getting through life and work, Jury consultants, Life Outside of Work, litigation consultants, Trial Consulting

I took a women’s self defense class with friend of mine. I learned many valuable things that I have put into practice since then. I also learned that my education and skills as a social psychologist have been paying off as they apply to my interactions with strangers, including those who might have an intent […]

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I sometimes have to cogitate on these posts before writing, especially when responding as 2nd blogger. This topic is one of those so I read Melissa’s writing and then I have been thinking about it. Part of that thinking about it has been to pay attention to people on the street. Do they smile? Do […]

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Generational Work Ethics

Digressing before I get started, I begin this post by reporting that Melissa and I read many newspapers, magazines and professional publications to stay current. Melissa subscribes to and promptly reads many psychology journals and publications. This post was prompted by a January 2017 Monitor on Psychology article synopsis reporting findings from a meta-analysis of […]

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Stereotyping, although it is commonplace, is never a good idea. I will repeat: Stereotyping is never a good idea. Social psychologists, beginning with Dr. Gordon Allport in 1948, have studied stereotypes and their negative impact on decision making in a multitude of contexts. Research on stereotyping has, in general terms, revealed that stereotypes contain a […]

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Common sense

Let’s face it: Some people have no common sense. Other people have some common sense and then there are those fortunate people who have an abundance of what is often referred to as “horse sense.” Like other personality traits, common sense is present on a continuum, with certain people having more than others. Life experience […]

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It has been interesting as an employer to observe the common sense, and intellectual sense, of employees – at all levels. As Melissa pointed out, a high degree of education often has no correlation with common sense. In fact, in the many years I have known Melissa, I have observed that some of her colleagues […]

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Take Initiative

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 19, 2017

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

I’ve been reflecting on what makes a good employee, a good student, or even a “good soldier.” One variable I think makes a tremendous difference is the willingness of an individual to take initiative to get things done. And, borrowing, and modifying the use of the term “lean in” from the 2013 book by Sheryl […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 19, 2017

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Getting through life and work, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

People vary on the personality dimension David refers to as taking initiative. Some people are on the lower end of the spectrum, and are colloquially referred to as “slackers,” while other people are on the higher end of the spectrum, and are often referred to as “taking charge,” “leaders,” and “dependable,” among other things, while […]

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I Don’t Care about Research

This post was inspired by a recent encounter I had with a young, inexperienced attorney who told me she did not care about research results; instead, she preferred to base her decisions on her past experiences.  Wow!  Hearing this statement was shocking, in and of itself, but hearing it from a young person was, in […]

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Sticking one’s head in the sand and digging in one’s heels when faced with new information  are two bad behaviors.  Melissa related this story to me upon her return from the courtroom and it amazes me as much as it does her.  I don’t know whether it is because this attorney is young, and as […]

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