Archive | Entrepreneurship

Social Psych = Groups = Juries

Over the years, many people have asked me what makes me qualified to work as a jury/trial consultant. I explain that I have a Ph.D. in social psychology, which is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by other people and situations. Social thinking, social influence, and social behavior are […]

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I have certainly learned a lot about social psychology, by osmosis and directly from Melissa, as well as in a graduate course, taken before I had any intent of working in the trial consulting world, that helped me more than I knew it would.  It is interesting to explain the principles of psychological science to […]

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Herding Cats

I am sure most people have heard the expression that something is like “herding cats.” I am sure herding felines would be nearly impossible based on my experience with having 1 in the house. Herding any of our cats, even 1 at a time, is quite a challenge. Even though our Siamese cats know their […]

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My job involves herding lots of cats, metaphorically speaking.  Not only do I “herd” attorneys, including timing their presentations during mock trials, getting a trial team to work together on trial strategies, and convincing multiple clients to listen to me and follow my advice during jury selection, I herd numerous other cats during my working […]

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Grace Under Pressure

What does it mean to have grace under pressure? Grace under pressure can mean several things to people, but to me, it means having a calm demeanor and an overall presence of mind in a stressful or highly demanding situation. My job as a trial/jury consultant is stressful. I often remark to people who are […]

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“Grace Under Pressure” is the title of the 10th album, a 1984 release, by RUSH.  The readers of these posts know that RUSH is my favorite band.  Though there is no song on the album entitled “grace under pressure,” the album had many references to being under pressure, especially in terms of the Cold War […]

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Completion Satisfaction

I played hooky this morning for a couple of hours in order to complete some tasks on my to do list. These were things that had been lingering at home for some time and I finally had the parts in hand to do the repairs, thanks to a big trip to Home Depot and several […]

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Hooray for David in, as I like to say, “gittin’ er dun”!  It’s always nice to accomplish tasks on the “to do” list.  As David said, our professional lives do not offer the same sense of satisfaction that comes from other people’s jobs. Our work takes a long time to complete, and often, our clients […]

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Have Something to Live for

Have something to live for. It doesn’t matter what it is; having a goal or an event to look forward to is enough to keep most people moving ahead, even in times of strife. For some people, the anticipation of their next golf game among friends brings happy thoughts until game day happens. For other […]

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Having an interest in something or some things that challenge one, or are intrinsically rewarding, is not as difficult to do as perhaps, saving the world from polio or malaria (goals of the Gates Foundation).  But, having interests, an outlet for mind and body, is a positive thing.  I recently had someone, for whom English […]

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Premature Decisions

Several recent client/case events prompted this post. My biased view of litigation is that it is best done when as much input (a.k.a. data) is considered. This includes data from various experts, but also data from mock juries used to evaluate the risks of litigation. The first example is with a case that settled prior […]

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I prefer things to be done in an orderly, not a chaotic, manner.  When I make a decision about whether or not a particular person will be a “good” juror for a client’s case, I don’t merely look at the person and say, “Yeah, that one looks pretty good to me.”  Instead, my decisions regarding […]

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Letter from the Internal Revenue Service – Yikes!

No small business owner likes to receive a letter from the Internal Revenue Service – trust me. Such letters inspire dread. Though they occasionally include a good surprise, such as a refund of an over payment, more often they are “not good.” Melissa and I recently received such a letter informing us that, because we […]

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There must be some nice, friendly, helpful people who are employed by the IRS.  Statistically speaking, there has to be some percentage of IRS employees who are customer oriented. It just isn’t possible for everyone who works at the IRS, or even the majority, to be rude, condescending, and generally speaking, unhelpful to its clients, […]

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Colossal Failures at American Express and Chase

Over the past 2 months, I’ve been battling American Express to get them to correct a colossal mistake THEY made, but for which they blamed us/me and penalized us accordingly. To be fair to American Express, Chase Bank also failed during this time period, but not as badly as American Express. The issue common to […]

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David has an awful time dealing with the huge companies we depend on in both business and personal situations.  I can barely tolerate speaking to  “customer service” representatives long enough to convince them that I authorize David to speak with them regarding credit card and other billing issues.  David has spent countless hours in his […]

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Know What You Don’t Know

Many years ago, a college professor of mine told me that knowing what you don’t know (or that you don’t know something) is an important sign of intelligence. It was an enlightening discussion and I think I’ve mentioned this in another post. But, it bears further discussion because we seem to live in a world […]

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Formality Never Hurts

In thinking about the job candidates who failed to get out of the starting gate due to their wardrobe choices, I reflected on how formality provides a guide for “good” behavior. Being formal in addressing people with “Ms.,” “Mr.,” “Dr.,” etc. is a good starting place. It is likely you will soon be told to […]

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Social psychologists have an explanation for most kinds of people’s encounters with others.  In the situations to which David refers, one’s self monitoring level is crucial to the impression they make upon others.  Self monitoring is defined as the degree to which people regulate the way they present themselves, including their emotions and behaviors, in […]

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