One Word Changes Everything

One word can change an expectation.

If you saw the above on your jury summons, how long would you think you would be serving? If you were me and the other jurors I talked to in my jury pool, you would have thought ONE DAY.
So on jury duty day, after a few hours of waiting, they start calling jurors for trials. The one I got called for was two days, and the other group was for a four-day trial.

So I stood up and asked the jury coordinator, “Our jury summons says a one-day trial, but you’ve just said that the first trial is two days and the second one is four days.”
Her: “Yes, your jury service is for one day or one trial.”
Me: “That’s different.”
Her: “It’s one day or one trial.” [everyone groans]
Me: Then the jury summons should SAY “one day OR one trial.”

My credo as a communicator is to prepare people for what’s coming, and give them timetables if possible. Had people been properly prepared as to how long their service would be, they would have been much less annoyed. Many of us had plans for the following day. Doctor’s appointments, work meetings.

UPDATE: My jury pool was eventually dismissed because the case settled (*whew*). I talked to the jury coordinator afterwards, and mentioned how it would have been helpful to have the word OR in the jury summons, and maybe a little more explanation. She told me that she had TRIED to get the word “OR” added (she had also tried to get a slash in there (one day/one trial), but she said, “the presiding judge said ‘ABSOLUTELY NOT,”‘ which shows they don’t understand good communication.