Cross-examination Preparation #3
How little points become big ones. Facts that really matter.
In the previous episode, we discussed how and why to make little points in cross-examination. There are two primary reasons – because you can and because little points together can become big points. Like a debate, cross-examination is all about making the big points. Points that lead you somewhere you want to go.
Do you recall Yogi Berra's famous argument quotation, "If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?" That leads us to the next technique as we construct a successful cross-examination. We must learn how to join the little points together to make a big point. To get 'there'.
The process is the exact opposite of little-to-big. In a car accident, no one cares if the driver wore a necktie. Not, that is, unless it matters. And that is precisely what your big points should be – facts that matter.
Cross-examination is, therefore, an exercise to identify the facts that matter to:
1. Help you make your case.
2. Hurt their efforts to make their case.
3. Discredit this witness or others who agree with this witness.
4. Credit others who disagree with this witness.
This process requires creativity if not downright imagination. You take your lead from the Case Analysis that you spun for your side. This provides your theme and the very high-level points you strive to establish. The Case Analysis spun for your opponent provides you with the targets for your attack as you try to dismantle their structure.
Fortunately, we already did much of the legwork back when we prepared for the direct examination, Episode 5 in that series. Remember inoculation? Well, now it's time to list the points that the witness should have prepared to meet. We suggested back then that these were the 'bad facts'. A bad fact for the witness is likely a good fact for your side, one that matters.
Until this post, free subscribers and the public had total access to the application of the weekly technique to Goldilocks v. The Three Bears. This access stops effective with this posting. To get access, please join as a paid subscriber. The financial commitment is minimal, and the benefits are substantial for those working on their advocacy skills.
Paid subscribers can read about the application of the weekly technique to Goldilocks but can also access a text file with the technique applied to the case study created from the facts of Donoghue v. Stevenson.
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