Doug Passon

#341: How to Persuade a Judge and Jury Using the ABT

#341: How to Persuade a Judge and Jury Using the ABT

Whether you’re a lawyer or not, you need to be a persuasive advocate for what you’re selling.

Metaphorically, all of our audiences are judges and juries considering the merits of how we see the world and what we’re selling within it with your communications.

But if we confuse them with our communications, we lose them as advocates for our cause. This is especially true in the courtroom. 

I’m excited to announce the third book in our Narrative Gym series co-authored by today’s guest, Scottsdale, AZ, criminal defense attorney Doug Passon. Dr. Randy Olson wrote the first Narrative Gym in the spring of 2020 as an ABT framework guide for the scientific community. Randy and I wrote The Narrative Gym for Business published this past September focused on brand, sales and marketing leaders.

Doug has been using storytelling to great effect in the legal world. His approach to sentencing mitigation videos – short docudramas that reveal the true character of a convict who deserves leniency – was even featured on The Simpsons.  Today we explore how you can use the power of the ABT to tell your story in a simple and analytical way as demonstrated in The Narrative Gym for Law: Introducing the ABT Framework for Persuasive Advocacy.

Doug is also a writer, musician and award-winning documentary filmmaker who combines his passion for filmmaking and storytelling with his practice of law by producing short documentaries for use as mitigation at criminal sentencing and post-conviction proceedings. 

He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of sentencing advocacy and is described by the Wall Street Journal as a pioneer in the emerging field of sentencing mitigation videos. Even Lisa Simpson took note of Doug’s work to get Homer off a grand theft auto charge. 

Tune in as Doug demonstrates in action how you can use the ABT as a persuasive tool to win an argument, especially when the odds are stacked against you and how it can narrow your message, hook your audience and help them buy into the world the way you see it.


Discussed in this episode 

  • Why the Miranda Rights is simply being ignored by criminals and how it would be better understood if it were delivered in ABT form
  • The importance of controlling your narrative through story
  • Why you should be focusing on empathy-based communication and representation to persuade your audience to make different decisions
  • Examples of the ABT in action and how it is used in law
  • Finding your one focused narrative to tell your story
  • Where else you can be using the ABT in your communications

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