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While other attorneys were taking classes on trial practice, this mommy lawyer learned the art of direct exam from watching the best interviewer in the world. Started watching the Oprah Winfrey Show when Cristina was born in 1986.  Finished two children and nine years later when I started working full time again.

Earlier this month, Oprah interviewed Meghan and Harry.  She did not disappoint.  The session provides a wonderful lesson on Direct Exam. 

1.      Get your witness comfortable .

  • Break the ice

  • Perhaps about something happy or light hearted

2.    Be with your witness through mirroring

Meghan: This I heard about.

Oprah: You heard about that. OK.

Meghan: This was . . . that was . . . that was a turning point.

Oprah: That was a turning point?

Meghan: Yeah.

 3. Direct questions

  • What was that like.

  • What are you most excited about

  • So are you saying that

  • How does that work

  • You’re telling me that is not true

  • What was going on

  • I’m so sorry to hear that

  • How do you feel about

  • What was the tipping point

  • Who is having that conversation with you

  4. Being Present with the Witness

  • Wow!

  • Mm-hmm

  • Ah!

  • Ok

  • What?!

 5. Asking questions on behalf of the audience

Explain to us what you mean by that.

So, we all want to know, what would make you cry

6. Moving the answer forward

I mean, that’s the sad irony of the last four years . . . is I’ve advocated for so long for women to use their voice, and then I was silent.

Oprah: Were you silent? Or were you silenced?

Meghan: The latter.

7. Provocative question

  • Are you saying that

  • Did you blindside the queen

What you don’t see Oprah doing, is reading a script. She is right there with the witness. Warm. Strong. Soft. Tough. Happy. Sad. Comforting. Totally Human. Watch the interview here: Oprah Interview with Meghan and Harry – Watch on CBS

Writing the blog on my kitchen table.