Winning with Stories

Using the Narrative to Persuade in Trials, Speeches and Lectures

Jim M. Perdue
Winning with Stories
Winning with Stories

Winning with Stories

Using the Narrative to Persuade in Trials, Speeches and Lectures

Jim M. Perdue
$125.00

"Once upon a time ..."

So begins Winning with Stories: Using the Narrative to Persuade in Trials, Speeches and Lectures, an examination of the power of the story in the art of persuasion. In this eminently readable work of sound scholarship, author Jim M. Perdue proves that the story, as our primary vehicle for learning and teaching, is as valid today as it was to our ancient ancestors. "Stories reaffirm our belief that our institutions exist as solutions to problems," writes Perdue. "Stories deny the proposition that life can only admit to hopelessness and uncertainty. Since the beginning of time, narratives have carried the truths of hope and justice."

Beginning with an exploration of the story concept, Perdue analyzes narrative elements in detail, showing how to craft a story with a strong beginning, memorable scenes, believable characters, a logical plot, vivid action, and a moving conclusion. Going beyond these basics, Perdue demonstrates how to tell the story to maximum effect, with attention to concepts as broad as giving "soul" to the story and as specific as what the speaker should wear. Perdue covers mannerisms, physical movement, use of illustrative visuals, and other storytelling considerations in detail. The author gives generously of his more than forty years of courtroom experience to show novice and veteran lawyers alike how to tell a powerful story to motivate an audience.

Far more than a practical analysis of storytelling, Winning with Stories is also an invaluable anthology of stories that speakers can use to make and illustrate a point. Perdue includes abundant examples of useful labels, metaphors, similes, clichés, analogies, quotations, poetry, personal anecdotes, and humorous stories. He traces them to their roots in ancient and modern history, the Bible, children's tales, books, movies, plays, and folklore. Rounding out these invaluable resources are illustrative examples of actual opening statements and closing arguments the author has used to inspire juries to a just verdict.

Like Perdue's previous books, Winning with Stories will be an indispensable reference for the trial lawyer seeking more effective persuasion techniques and an invaluable tool for lecturers, ministers, and teachers—anyone who studies or practices the art of persuasion.

  • Author

  • Details

    Hardcover: 602 pages; 1st edition (2006); ISBN: 978-1892542229
    Publisher: State Bar of Texas
  • Table of Contents

    1. Letter from the President of the State Bar of Texas
    2. Preface
    3. Acknowledgments
    4. Part 1: The Story Concept
    5. The Power of the Story
    6. Why a Story?
    7. Part 2: Crafting A Story
    8. The Strong Begining
    9. Setting the Scene
    10. Developing Strong Characters
    11. Presenting a Compelling Plot
    12. Let the Audience Live the Action
    13. Choosing a Cognitive Theme
    14. Negating the Negatives
    15. Complete the Circle with a Strong Ending
    16. Part 3: Telling The Story
    17. The Power of the Person
    18. The Power of the Telling
    19. The Power of the Sequence
    20. The Power of the Pictures
    21. The Power of the Story from Adverse Witnesses: Cross-Examination Storytelling
    22. Part 4: Our Values
    23. The Source of the Trial Lawyer's Values and Beliefs
    24. Consider Your Audience
    25. Inspiring with Your Trial Story
    26. Part 5: Stories Within Stories
    27. Labels
    28. Metaphors
    29. Similes and Cliches
    30. Analogies
    31. Quotations
    32. Poetry
    33. Anecdotes and Humorous Stories
    34. Part 6: Courtroom Stories
    35. Illustrative Opening Statement: Truck-Auto Collision Kills Plaintiff's Son
    36. Illustrative Opening Statement: Premises-Unsafe Ladder
    37. Illustrative Closing Summation: Baby Brain Damaged at Birth Due to Obstetrical Nursing Negligence
    38. Illustrative Closing Summation: Pathology Mistake Leaves Woman Disfigured
    39. Illustrative Closing Summation: Anesthesia Misadventure Kills husband
    40. Notes
    41. Bibliography
    42. Story Morals Index
    43. Name and Title Index
    44. Subject Index

"Once upon a time ..."

So begins Winning with Stories: Using the Narrative to Persuade in Trials, Speeches and Lectures, an examination of the power of the story in the art of persuasion. In this eminently readable work of sound scholarship, author Jim M. Perdue proves that the story, as our primary vehicle for learning and teaching, is as valid today as it was to our ancient ancestors. "Stories reaffirm our belief that our institutions exist as solutions to problems," writes Perdue. "Stories deny the proposition that life can only admit to hopelessness and uncertainty. Since the beginning of time, narratives have carried the truths of hope and justice."

Beginning with an exploration of the story concept, Perdue analyzes narrative elements in detail, showing how to craft a story with a strong beginning, memorable scenes, believable characters, a logical plot, vivid action, and a moving conclusion. Going beyond these basics, Perdue demonstrates how to tell the story to maximum effect, with attention to concepts as broad as giving "soul" to the story and as specific as what the speaker should wear. Perdue covers mannerisms, physical movement, use of illustrative visuals, and other storytelling considerations in detail. The author gives generously of his more than forty years of courtroom experience to show novice and veteran lawyers alike how to tell a powerful story to motivate an audience.

Far more than a practical analysis of storytelling, Winning with Stories is also an invaluable anthology of stories that speakers can use to make and illustrate a point. Perdue includes abundant examples of useful labels, metaphors, similes, clichés, analogies, quotations, poetry, personal anecdotes, and humorous stories. He traces them to their roots in ancient and modern history, the Bible, children's tales, books, movies, plays, and folklore. Rounding out these invaluable resources are illustrative examples of actual opening statements and closing arguments the author has used to inspire juries to a just verdict.

Like Perdue's previous books, Winning with Stories will be an indispensable reference for the trial lawyer seeking more effective persuasion techniques and an invaluable tool for lecturers, ministers, and teachers—anyone who studies or practices the art of persuasion.

What Legal Leaders Are Saying

Jim M. Perdue has put on paper what makes him a courtroom legend. This is the best guide yet on how to persuade judges and juries. Read it, study it, follow its step-by-step approach, and you are guaranteed to become a better trial lawyer.

— Peter T. Hoffman, director of the Blakely Advocacy Institute, University of Houston Law Center

Jim Perdue’s collection of stories, anecdotes and quotations is a veritable treasure trove of source material for trial lawyers and public speakers. In Lincolnesque style, these stories and witticisms are not only entertaining, but are replete with jewels of wisdom and historical insights.

— Wayne Fisher, Houston, Texas

It’s not just trial lawyers who need to read this book. Teachers and all public speakers who care about their audience and their topic should also read its simple yet profound message. You can persuade an audience far better and move your listeners more deeply with a story than with an argument.

— Dennis Donnelly, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates

Perdue’s big-as-all-outdoors book doesn’t just give us formulas and checklists, it also mines deeply into literature and culture to show how the great stories of the last few thousand years have worked their persuasive magic. This is a book to read and savor, and refer to over and over.

— Patrick Malone, past president of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and coauthor of Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability

This book is an amazingly useful tool for any communicator. Within the first two chapters, I found myself analyzing my next Sunday’s sermon, asking, ‘Have I stated my point in a vivid way, or an inert one? Will my congregation learn, remember, and be inspired?’

— Jeff Berger, senior pastor of South Avenue Baptist Church, Pasadena, Texas

A Bible of the art of trial, Winning with Stories cuts the learning curve for young lawyers by ten or fifteen years.

— Jack Olender, Washington, D.C.

A must-read for all litigators who want to win, and should be a required text for all who study or practice persuasion.

— William B. English, director of speech communication, Baylor University

The power of story is as old as humans and fire, and the fire of Jim Perdue comes through the pages of this book. It is an outstanding resource. Read it—and you will be a better lawyer.

— Jim Fitzgerald, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Atticus Finch surely spun some spellbinding tales for Scout and southern juries, but even he would be envious of Mr. Perdue’s talent for storytelling and his grasp of its tradition and power. This is a fascinating, informative book, and one that English teachers could use as effectively as attorneys.

— Stephen Hancock, educator

Every Jim Perdue book is on my shelf, but the new one on storytelling and analogies won’t ever have any dust settle on top… it’s Jim’s best work.

— Don Keenan, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates

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