Immersion: Dr. Paul Zak & the Science of Narrative Persuasion, Part 1

Set for Sentencing podcast promotion design (1 Guest)_PART1NEW

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We all want to be more persuasive communicators, especially when the big day of sentencing is upon us.  But, many of us don’t know whether our oral, written, or visual communications are grabbing and holding our audience, and most importantly, moving them to make the right decision in a case.


Therefore, helping us get Set for Sentencing is Dr. Paul Zak!  He has spent over two decades researching the neuroscience behind narrative, communication, and human connection.  He’s here to introduce you to the concept of IMMERSION.


Immersion is a neurologic state that engages your audience and motivates them into action.  For our work, immersion is everything.  He knows how you achieve immersion in your communication and, more importantly, he designed a tool to measure it!


Dr. Zak was so generous with his time, we couldn’t pack all of this into one episode.  So, enjoy part one of our discussion, and I promise you’ll want to come back for part 2.  At the end of this, we actually get to analyze a few minutes of one of my sentencing mitigation videos through Dr. Zak’s immersion platform, which uses biometric responses smart watches to measure audience engagement with your message.  This is amazing technology that is already in use in the film industry, in advertising, by fortune 500 corporations, and beyond. 




  • The crucial difference between empathy v sympathy;
  • How narrative “immersion” leads to audience action;
  • Brain response to immersion;
  • The importance of “opening hot”;
  • How long immersion lasts and why the brain needs a break;
  • The importance of strategic placement of a “call to action” in your narrative communication;
  • Neurologic responses to written, spoken and visual communication;
  • Why traditional “focus groups” are ineffective;
  • Using multiple story lines to sustain immersion;
  • Pauses – a speaker’s superpower.



Dr. Zak’s Immersion Platform –

Immersion: The Science of the Extraordinary & the Source of Happiness, by Dr. Paul Zak on

This short video, “The Future of Storytelling,” was my introduction to Dr. Zak and his groundbreaking work.  It details one of his earlier studies of the effect of narrative on the brain.  It’s six minutes and worth a look. It will have a profound impact on the way you approach law and life.

Again, stay tuned for next week’s thrilling conclusion, where we finish our discussion and do an immersion analysis of one of my sentencing mitigation videos. 


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