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Episode 153: Color Persuasion For Lawyers With Guest Kerry Heaps

by Heather Moulder | Life & Law Podcast

You know that your body language can help – or hurt – you when trying to persuade others. But are you aware that your color choices (within the clothing and/or jewelry you wear) can also have an impact?

Join me and guest Kerry Heaps for a fascinating discussion around the power of color persuasion.

About Kerry Heaps

Kerry Heaps is the proud Owner of Kerry’s Studio, an online boutique specializing in professional women’s clothing.

Kerry is an expert at helping professionals identify their ideal colors and how to leverage the power of color to influence outcomes in their business, and is a dedicated educator on the subjects of body language. As a sought-after Speaker and CLE Trainer, Kerry covers a range of topics including the color of persuasion and body language basics.

Kerry contributes as a featured writer for SheOwnsIt and various other publications, boasting over 300 media features. She is the host of Chromatic Counsel, a YouTube show featuring color and wardrobe for Legal Professionals.

Links Mentioned in today’s Color Persuasion Episode:

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Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Life & Law Podcast.

This is your host, Heather Moulder, and today we have our first guest of Season 4. I want to introduce you to Kerry Heaps, who is the proud owner of Kerry’s Studio, an online boutique specializing in professional women’s clothing. Kerry is an expert at helping professionals identify their ideal colors and how to leverage the power of color to influence outcomes in their business, and is a dedicated educator on the subject of body language. As a sought after CLE trainer, Kerry covers a range of topics, including the color of persuasion, which we’re going to get into today, and body language basics. Welcome, Kerry.

[00:01:45] Kerry: Thank you, Heather. It’s so great to be here.

[00:01:48] Heather: So quick question before we get into the bulk of what I want to talk about today, which is color and how to utilize color to leverage your situation. But how did you get into this?

[00:02:00] Kerry: Well, that’s a great question. Thank you for asking. So, my background is pretty varied.

I started out very young. I was in the modeling industry. I modeled when I was between the ages of 19 to 22. Not tall enough to do Runway modeling, but I did a lot of commercial modeling. So I really learned about color, making sure that you’re wearing the right colors for your season, not just with makeup, but with clothing.

From an advertising standpoint, when you have to do things for commercial modeling, they would have you wear certain colors to evoke certain emotions from the people who were looking at the ad or from, for example, from a trade show aspect. If they wanted more people to come to a certain booth, they would ask us, hey, can you wear variations of red? Because reds are an excitable color. It makes people, it attracts people to you. So we would always make sure we were wearing red. So that’s really where I got my start in it and how I got so interested in it.

You fast forward a little bit later. I kind of worked a flip side of the desk in the industry where I was putting people to work. I was training models and actors as well for, you know, acting classes and to help them do, you know when they were going on what they were calling go sees, which was basically an audition at the time and helping them through that process and, you know, making sure that they were staying busy. So I started teaching that as well to other models and actors, and that’s kind of how I got my start with it.

[00:03:30] Heather: That’s really interesting because we attorneys are pretty careful in what we wear. A lot of times, we’re very self aware around the fit and certain type of cuts. And then I think colors to some extent, based on what we like or what we think looks good on our skin, but we don’t go any further than that. So when you reached out to me on this topic, I was intrigued and like, okay, I’ve never thought of it that way. Okay, let’s discuss it.

So let’s get into the basics of, I think you’ve kind of hinted at it, but let’s talk a little more deeply about:

What exactly is color psychology and what can you tell us about it.

[00:04:09] Kerry: Its origins with color psychology. As you know, I’ve mentioned before, if people have taken my class, that, you know, it’s not a very well researched area. There are studies out there, but in my opinion, there’s just not enough available to the public to really showcase what color can do, you know, the emotions that it can elicit from other people.

Now, when I talk about and teach on the color of persuasion, I am specifically talking about clothing colors and accessories, whether it’s a bracelet or a tie for a gentleman or your shirt underneath your suit. So I really talk in regards to your wardrobe colors.

Where there’s color psychology for advertising, there’s a reason why certain companies will choose colors not just for their brand, but also for their product. And that’s in a buying regard, to get people to buy from a marketing standpoint, which can be tackled a little bit differently, where with clothing, it’s from the aspect of what emotion do you want to elicit from another person.

Now, with colors, the original very first point I like to make with people is back in 1666, sir Isaac Newton, he found you could take a prism, a clear prism, crystal prism, and when light passes through it, it changes colors. So you have your red, you have your blue. Then he noticed, hey, if I mix these lights together, it makes additional colors. So if I mix the yellow with the red, it’s like an orange color. So that’s kind of how the colors got started. However, each individual color, believe it or not, actually has its own origins, its own history.

When you look at not just pink, but just different variations of pink as well, the original pink actually came from. It doesn’t have a very nice story.

People associate pink with baby girls. You know, little girls are dressed in pink, but one of the original places of where they found the color was back in ancient times, they would.

There were certain bugs that they would kill, and if the carcass was left out to dry out, they would, you know, sweep those up, and they would notice that there was, like, a pink dust that came out of them where their insides were almost turning into a certain color of dust. And they thought, oh, gosh, that’s actually really pretty. And it was a shade of pink. If people want to learn a little bit more about the history of colors and colors is it’s such a vast industry. There’s a book out there called the Secret Lives of Color. I recommend it to a lot of people. If you’re a history buff, they’re very short pages where they’ll talk about certain colors. Like dutch orange has a neat story to it, and it talks about the origins of that and how that actually got started and why they came up with that name, why they penned at that name. So it’s pretty vast, actually, with the history part of it. It goes back centuries and centuries ago.

The Psychology of Website Colors & Branding

[00:07:06] Heather: Right. So, okay, something you said towards the beginning of what you were saying, I wanted to highlight. So, and I don’t know how many lawyers are listening to this, think this way, but I know I had a basic understanding when I first started my current business, and I was looking at my website and choosing my colors for the website, which I’ve since changed, but I knew there was a psychology to the colors you pick for your website, for your branding, for all of that.

And I think a lot of people know that. You know, we hear that, we know that we’ve learned why certain brands pick the colors that they do for their logos, and that makes sense. So it’s interesting to me, though, that we all kind of accept that, yet we don’t really think about, okay, what does it mean when we’re choosing colors for ourselves to wear?

And I just find that really intriguing that we haven’t taken that next step. And especially as lawyers, it can be really important because we are trying to gain trust. We are trying to convince people. We are negotiating. We are in court. There’s all these things. Right. That we are doing. And so I could see where color and color choices could be incredibly important.

Does Color Persuasion Apply to All Attorneys (or Some More Than Others)?

So this can obviously help pretty much every attorney out there, right? Especially trial attorneys, divorce attorneys, people who are going to court.

But I’m also guessing I was not a person who went to court. I was a finance attorney. I negotiated, and sometimes we would have pretty heated deals where we’d all get together and we kind of hash out, you know, varying things, or I would go to speak. Right. And most attorneys go speak, do speak at some point in time for business development purposes. So I’m guessing. But you have very specific recommendations for varying circumstances for pretty much any attorney out there. Is that correct?

[00:09:00] Kerry: I do. And I will tell you, I think, you know, can this help any attorney? Absolutely. I think this can help anyone in sales, in a sales role, really. I think any industry, it could be applicable. I obviously specialize in working with attorneys because I do Cle, obviously, and for what I do and all the research that I do, it kind of like, it just made sense for me to, hey, this could really help you.

I do tell people, use this as a tool.

It’s not an end all, be all, just like body language. You can read the body language of a potential juror. However, you know, it’s, you need to also go with your gut, go with the evidence. Well, not evidence when you’re choosing a jury member. But, you know, who are you? Who is your ideal jury member? You know, you need to just utilize it as a tool. And color is no different.

But yes, trial attorneys can definitely benefit because they can use it for jury selection. They can use it during trial to build trust with the jury to, you know, if they’re cross examining, you know, like, I’ll talk about yellow today, but yellow is a really interesting color. If you’re doing mediation, like you, like you were talking about, if there’s a lot of attorneys that are doing mediation or arbitration, hey, we need, we need this to settle. We need both parties to come to an understanding, and let’s get this done and over with. You know, pink is an excellent color to use as well. But I also, you know, again, I tell people, you need to make sure you’re wearing the right shade, the right hue and shade of pink or of yellow to ensure that you’re getting, you’re eliciting the correct emotion from another person.

[00:10:40] Heather: Obviously, this is not like it’s funny because it’s one of those topics. I have to say, I’m a typical lawyer. I rolled my eyes a little bit when you first reached out to me, like, oh, come on.

[00:10:51] Kerry: And that’s normal.

[00:10:52] Heather: Yeah, I’m sure it is. We’re a bit, you know, skeptical of these types of things. But the more I thought about it, and I thought about the website and I thought it, you know, I’m like, okay, there’s merit to this. Let’s look into it. So I looked into you, and I decided, okay, yeah, let’s bring you on. And I would say this.

Obviously, it’s not going to change everything. I mean, if you don’t have a good case, you don’t have a good case. If you don’t have a good argument, you don’t have a good argument. But it’s one of many things that you can do to help, you know, bring forth certain emotions to help people see you a particular way, you or your client, just to help with the overarching. And I think it’s a whole package deal from your body language to the argument to the facts to all the way down to what you’re wearing, the style, the color, all of the above. And so it’s just one of those things that can additionally help you.

[00:11:46] Kerry: Absolutely. And you’re right. And I do. And I think attorneys are wired just because of the way that they’re educated and trained that they need to be, I don’t want to say suspicious, but they need to have their guard up, like, okay, why am I doing this? You know why? So I do deal with that a lot, and that’s one reason why I came up with a class to, you know, to offer to attorneys, because I’m like, like, go through the class, you know? And if at the end of the class, you don’t see why this is going to be helpful to you, then, you know, yeah. Then obviously this is not a tool you’d want to use, however, you know, be open enough to hear about it. And most of them are. They’re curious about it, like, well, I don’t know. You know, maybe, maybe not. But once I start to use examples, because, again, in a courtroom setting, if you’re able to see where. Oh, wow, okay, I get it.

Color Persuasion of Black: Strength & Intimidation

[00:12:35] Heather: So let’s get into the actual colors. I want to start with the color most attorneys wear a lot, and it’s not actually a color.

Let’s talk about black.

[00:12:46] Kerry: Yeah.

[00:12:47] Heather: What does black tend to evoke from other people.

[00:12:51] Kerry: Well, black is a strong color. It definitely showcases to, you know, when people wear it, it’s showcasing to everyone who views it that, you know, a position of power. Um, sometimes it could be. It can evoke a little bit of intimidation for the people around, you know, around you. Uh, sometimes you want to evoke that, you know, you want to intimidate the other person. You want to like, hey, I know I’m going to win this case. I’ve got this in the bag. Um, so it can be a little overwhelming for people who are viewing it. It can be a little bit intimidating because it is such a power, considered a power color. Um, but, yeah, it’s interesting.

When I do my class, it’s one of the first things I will ask. I’m like a show of hands, even on Zoom, you know, raise your hand or type in a yes. How many is this? Your go to color? And 90% of the time, yes, that is what people are putting in there. But what’s also interesting about black is there’s so many hues to it.

There’s charcoal, there’s pure black. There is black brown. You know, there’s. There’s all sorts of hues of black that people could be wearing that, you know, again, you know, it’s toning it down a little bit. So whenever we go a little bit lighter with that shade of black, it doesn’t. It softens that a little bit where it’s not as intimidating for the people who are looking at it, but it can be a very. It can elicit a lot of intimidation from other people within the room.

[00:14:16] Heather: Don’t go with the typical, what we think of as tuxedo black. That’s super dark. Right. But something a little less, I would say.

[00:14:25] Kerry: I always recommend to. I always tell people, if you have not had a color analysis, get one done. I mean, I do them, but there’s other people that do them, too. In person, you want to make sure you’re wearing the right shade of black, because here’s what happens if you wear, like, for example, I’m a spring, okay?

So I actually, black is really not a good color for me. My go to primary colors for suiting is navy or brown. You know, those are the suits that I would gravitate towards because those look best on me. If I wear black, like a pure black that a winter would wear, then it actually. It takes away from me. It washes me out, look sick or tired. I will actually have people who will come up to me and say, are you okay? You know, you look a little under the weather, so it actually detracts. If I want to intimidate people, it actually takes away from that. I no longer have that intimidation factor. I now have a. Oh, my gosh, is that lady sick factor?

So you always want to make sure that you’re wearing the right shade of black for you, but it can be, you know, you’re not only going to wear just black. Like, you might have a black suit, but you’re going to wear a shirt underneath. You could have a different color with that. When you mix certain colors together, it can send a really good message. So it might be, you might have a black suit on that’s appropriate for your skin tone and for your season.

Color Persuasion of the Color Purple: Loyalty

And you might have a maybe a lavender shirt underneath, which sounds a little odd, but lavender does look good with black. You can wear the lavender. Lavender is a loyalty color. Purple’s a loyalty building color. So if you’re going to, you know, maybe it’s the first day in court, you’ve already, you know, picked the jury, and now you’re in court, and you’re having to kind of help again, just, you want the jury to like you. You want them to like your client.

So you have that loyalty color, and maybe you have a little mix of brown and black and. And lavender in your tie if you’re a gentleman, or maybe if you’re a lady, you have a scarf or a pin that has those complementing colors on there to kind of pull everything together and take that edge off so you can actually mix it up together to have a, you know, whatever your message is wanting to be or what you’re. You have to ask, what are. What am I trying to accomplish? And what season am I? What should be my go to color for that?

Color Persuasion of Grey: Stability

[00:16:39] Heather: Okay, what about, um, like, so my go to was never black. It was always gray. A gray suit?

[00:16:47] Kerry: Yeah.

[00:16:47] Heather: What’s the differentiation of, like, that lighter, that gray? It could be a dark gray. It could be a light gray. I mean, there’s a lot of different colors in the gray, too, or a lot of different shades.

But is that similar to black, or is it a big enough difference that it really is different?

[00:17:03] Kerry: That’s a great question. I always recommend if black is not one of your. Your colors that you should be wearing. You want to go gray should be your go to color, because you can. You can intensify the color of gray for, like, a charcoal gray example, which, you know, might look a little black, but when you get closer to it, or you’re within the room, you can see it’s not black. It’s. It’s a. It’s a great shade of gray.

Grays an excellent color. It actually evokes a lot of, hey, stability. Like, when I look at this person, I feel stability. I feel strength, but not in an intimidating way. So it’s a great primary color for suits as well. So I would recommend that, like, I can even pull off a gray, you know, as well, being a spring. So I do have a suit that’s a shade of gray. It’s kind of a little bit darker, but I can wear that in lieu of navy as well, or brown. So it is, if you go black is your go to color, and you want to start experimenting with color, I would recommend purchase a gray suit as well.

[00:18:02] Heather: Okay, awesome. So I guess, and I didn’t do this on purpose, but when I was a younger attorney trying to establish myself, I would wear a lot of gray because I looked young, and for whatever reason, gray made me feel better. It looked good on my skin. And it just, you know, I would also wonder, like, as we go through the psychology of some of these different colors, because my guess is, obviously, we want to wear the right colors for our skin tone. You’ve already covered that.

And by the way, people, it really is important. I had, a couple of years ago, an analysis done by somebody I know and trust really well. And it was a game changer for me because although I kind of knew that certain colors didn’t tend to look good on me, I didn’t understand why, and I wouldn’t try to force myself into certain colors at times because it was so cute on somebody else and why doesn’t it look good on me? And then after had this color analysis, and I saw the full array of colors that really do look good on my skin and really. And that I love, too, I was able to let go of all of that, and really? And it’s helped me in shopping and figuring out what is good for me. Right. So I do recommend that. But I’m guessing also some of these colors help other people feel a certain way, but they also help us feel a certain way, right?

[00:19:24] Kerry: Well, yes. So. But keep in mind, when you’re wearing certain colors, it’s. You’re not really going to be seeing that, you know, unless you’re looking down at your clothes all the time. You know, most people, they’re looking up, they’re presenting, they’re cross examining, they’re doing whatever. So in terms of what you’re wearing, that is going to have a certain effect. So you want to plan accordingly. If you’re looking at, so, like, for example, I’ve had people who tell me, like, I’m wearing green today. Part of the reason I’m wearing this color is because it’s a color.

Green is a color of growth, luck & envy.

You know, it’s also a color of, you know, luck and envy. You know, I know a lot of personal development people say, oh, if you want to attract money, wear green. That’s actually not true. If you want to attract money. Well, again, think about it. When I’m wearing green now, I can see myself because we’re recording this interview, so I can see it. However, during most days, you’re not going to be able to see what you’re wearing. You’re busy doing other things. So I always recommend, if you want to have a certain emotion for yourself, get something that’s colored in pink.

Color Persuasion of Pink: Calm

You know, if you need to be a little bit more calmer, have a few items on your desk that are the color of pink. Pink’s a calming color, so that is something I do. And if I want to attract money, I always tell people have gold, like the color of the metal, or garlic, which is an offshoot of red is another good color to have around you that will help to attract wealth and money. So if you’re looking at it from an aspect of you are wanting to utilize color yourself to be, you know, around you, you want to not do anything with your clothing that’s for other people that are looking at you. They’re going to have a certain emotion to elicit. But if you’re wanting a certain emotion for yourself, then, you know, you want to have that in, like, maybe pictures or have your office decorated in a certain color.

[00:21:13] Heather: So pay attention to what’s around you in your environment.

[00:21:17] Kerry: Exactly. Like, there was, for example, a really good example of this. Early on, I had one of, because I’ve always primarily worked from home. And early on, when I started having my own, like, little office space, second bedroom, you know, kind of decorating, that I had some colors in there that were more, you know, like a darker red and, and some black shades and, you know, throughout the room, just, you know, different accessories. Nothing drastic, but I could, they were an eye view of me.

And one thing I was noticing is I was getting more anxious. I was getting more frustrated. I was getting, like, I really wanted to, like, I was getting excited. Like, I got to get this done. I got to get that done. And I’m like, but then I wasn’t getting anything done. Like, I was getting frustrated in the process, and I changed those. Like, I actually took them out and I put some lighter shades of pink and some gold items or gold tone, I should say, throughout. And that seemed to, that was like, okay, this is much better for me. I like the aesthetics, and I like what I’m looking at.

Gold is, you know, I’m wanting to be successful. I want to attract money, you know, and wealth. So gold is a good color for me to have around. And the pink was a little bit more calming because my personality, I can, I have tendency to go off the rails a little bit as far as like, oh, I’m going to start this project and that project and, and it kind of helps me stay focused a little bit more. So really, again, it depends on what you’re trying to do. But, yeah, if you want to affect yourself, have things around you don’t, don’t pick in terms of your clothing.

[00:22:50] Heather: So you’ve mentioned pink a couple times. Is pink generally more calming for people?

[00:22:55] Kerry: It is. Pink is an excellent color. I always tell people if you’re a mediator, you need to have some shades of pink in your wardrobe, whether you’re a guy or a girl. Doesn’t matter. You can get pink ties. You can get some pink, you know, ties that, you know, better, multicolored. You can get a pink undershirt. And same thing for the ladies. You can get a light pink shirt or even like, there’s so many nice things out there that are pink that for ladies now that are suit colors that you know, you could wear. And yes, it is a very calming color, you know.

And again, you want to make sure you’re wearing the right hue of pink, whether that salmon or whether that is carnation pink or light pink or pastel pink or pink ice, whatever it may be. The lighter we go with any shade of any color, the more calming it can be. Same thing with a monochromatic effect, meaning you have two shades of the same color that you’re wearing. It can have a calming effect, too. So I do recommend, like, if you have to go, you maybe you’ve having a mediation and a, it’s not going well. You have to reconvene tomorrow morning, wear some pink and see if that helps too.

[00:24:04] Heather: Hot pink, right, like that.

[00:24:06] Kerry: No, you don’t want to go.

[00:24:07] Heather: What we tend to think of as that nice, it is hot pink.

Color Persuasion of Red (And Hot Pink): Excitement & Adrenaline

[00:24:12] Kerry: When you think of it, it is, well, hot pink. And magenta will be more in the red arena, which is good for networking. I would recommend to attorneys. Hey, if you’re going out and you’re networking and you want to attract people and get them excited, where, you know, where your versions of red or, like, if magenta or hot pink is one of your colors, then, and if you’re a winter, it usually is, you want to wear that as well because it’s going to get people, it attracts people to you. It gets them excited.

But if you’re trying to get people to come together and be like, look, we need to settle this. We need to. I almost want to. I saw that because I’m always watching things that could be televised, and they haven’t televised this, but they talk about it a lot in the news. But the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, that trial has, you know, with their winery, and they were talking about yesterday that they’re, they’re talking about the, they’re trying to subpoena NDAs that she’s signed over the years. And I’m like, I really just want to call both of their attorneys and say, hey, you know, next time you have everybody in a room, I think everybody needs to be wearing pink and see how that goes because I just feel like, gosh, this has been going on so long, and I’m like, when is it going to end? You know, like, gosh.

But, yeah, it is a great color to wear. I recommend it for any kind, you know, obviously, mediation. If you have a client who is really, I think this is good for family law attorneys. If you have a divorce client who is really highly emotional and every time they come in the office, they’re really getting upset, have some extra ties or scarves in your office where you could change up your look. If you have a client coming in that you know is going to break down and cry or start screaming and just try it, wear some pink or some lighter colors.

And that does, it does help calm a bit more. I don’t know that they still do this, but I have heard in the past that mental institutions used to paint their rooms, some of their rooms, pink, like a light shade of pink, because it would help calm people who were having an episode or getting upset, and they could put them in the room and they felt more calm. So it is a much more calming color. Yeah.

[00:26:15] Heather: So, okay, so pink, obviously, but what other colors? Somebody’s like, yeah, I’m just, I’m not going to touch pink because, you know, some people will not touch pink. So you said, that’s okay. There are some other colors. What else would be helpful for calming and eliciting that like, calmer response and emotions.

The Emotional Impact of Light Greens, Blues & Purposes

[00:26:34] Kerry: So your shades of green, blue, and also purple. But you want to go with the very light shades, almost like a pastel blue, baby blue, powder blue. If you’re going to go with purple, go with lavender or purple ice, which is almost like a pastel version of purple with. With some sheen to the fabric. Same thing with green. You want to go with seafoam. I have a sea foam suit in our store that it’s one of the most popular items because it’s like a suit dress. And it’s, you know, if you don’t want to wear pink, like, something like that would be perfect to wear because that sea foam, it’s very calming. When you look at it, it’s light green. So you could wear any of those colors.

Just go with lighter shades, you know, and you don’t have to have, like a, like an easter egg color suit, obviously, but you could do, like a brown suit. Or even your gray. Lavender goes excellent with gray. You could have the shirt underneath. And again, this is for both men and women. You could wear a shirt underneath. You could have a pin or a scarf. You know, if you’re a woman that has some of those colors in there, like a lavender. You know, different colors of lavender, maybe, or different colors of purple. If you’re a guy, you could have your pocket square and your tie. You have. You have lots of options.

And that’s why I always recommend having, like, a little bag in your office or in your car that has maybe a couple of extra ties. They don’t have to be solid colors, but maybe one that’s got, like, a lot of baby blue in it. That if you’re like, gosh, this is not going well, you’re at recess and you go out to your car and you change your tie, you know, because you want things to settle, you know, you could do that, you know, so you. And even with the ladies, you could have different scarves in there or even different accessories that you could change out. They’re just subtle differences if you needed to.

[00:28:19] Heather: The thing that I think is cool about this is there are lots of ways to utilize color without it being, like, all over the place.

[00:28:25] Kerry: Exactly.

[00:28:26] Heather: It carefully and strategically in a way that feels good to you.

Color Persuasion & Brown: Approachable & Relatable

[00:28:31] Kerry: Exactly. I wear a lot of brown whenever I have to go out and speak, whether it’s a keynote or breakout session, because sometimes people are intimidated to come up and talk to the speaker for whatever reason. And I want to be approachable, you know, so I like to. My colors are brown, and I also like to wear like an aqua color, you know, the shading between the blue and the. Because that’s. Blue is a good trust building color as well. But brown is a, you know, it’s kind of like, hey, I’m just like you. It’s okay to come up and talk to me where I know if I wear black, I’ll clear the room. Nobody is going to come up and approach me at all. But black is not one of my colors.

[00:29:09] Heather: So there’s a couple of things that are interesting that you said that I’m already thinking, like, oh, I need to use this. So one is when at bigger networking events, maybe wear a brighter color because people are more likely to be attracted to you and come up to you speaking. Don’t wear color that bright instead, like, tone it down a little bit so that you feel more approachable to those afterwards. Because after you speak, you want to be that person who is super approachable, that everybody comes up to talk to you because you’re there not just to give them information. You’re often there to try to network as well. So it’s interesting how you utilize it in different ways.

The Emotional Impact of Blue: Trust & Focus

[00:29:47] Kerry: And just a little tip, too, for those of you who are doing some speaking. Whether you’re speaking at an event, you know that the bar is putting on. Maybe you’re doing a Cle too, or maybe you’re, maybe you’re doing a present. Maybe you’re getting interviewed on tv. Another really great color is blue. Because blue is something I highly recommend, especially for trial attorneys.

Blue is your trust building color. Okay. That is a primary go to trust building color. And then brown would be my second that I would tell people about. Because blue, when we start out with those lighter shades of blue, maybe like a mid blue, and then intensify it as the trial moves along to like a navy blue or a darker blue suit, you’re building trust with the jury.

So I tell people, if you’re a trial attorney, and same thing, too, when you’re speaking, if you want people, hey, you need to listen to me. I know what I’m talking about. Blue is a great go to color because it’s a trust building color. But you always want to, especially for a trial.

I tell people you want to. It’s kind of like dating. Don’t want to do too much too quickly. So you want to be subtle with your blue and maybe do like a mid blue or a light blue suit, you know, for jury selection. And then the next day wear something a little bit more intense, you know, like a medium blue or a navy blue, but mix in, like, some light blue colors with it. And then once the trial starts, you can get more intensified with your colors because you’ve already been building that trust with the jury with that color.

[00:31:17] Heather: Oh, that’s interesting. So that was going to be my next question, because you already got there. Trust is so important, really, regardless of whether you’re in court, out of court, giving a speech, whether if you’re in court, you’re on the prosecution, your defense, your, you know, plaintiff defense, whatever it is, you want people to trust you. So happy to hear blue. Is that. Because it’s probably my favorite. It’s the color I use the most?

[00:31:46] Kerry: Yeah, yeah. It’s. It’s an excellent color. And again, it’s a good trust building color. It’s also a good color for focus.

So I do tell people if you’re going to redo your office, you know, have a couple of things throughout the office that have some shades of blue in it, whether it’s the carpeting, wallpaper, paint, because it’s a really good color for people who are, you know, if you’re sitting in a blue room, you’re going to focus more on the task at hand as well. So that’s another reason why it’s kind of good with trust building, because it makes people focus on you.

More About The Persuasiveness of Brown

And then brown was my next one. I always tell people, if you’re a criminal attorney, and obviously you, you know, your client, if you got to prove their innocence, I would recommend have your client in brown. You know, there are shades of brown, and there’s so many different variations.

You have the champagne, the light, you know, light brown all the way up to, you know, the camel brown or black brown. I mean, there’s all sorts of different hues and shades of brown, but brown in itself is going to be. It makes you, when you wear it, it’s, everybody feels like, hey, that could be my neighbor, or that’s the guy I see at Starbucks every day. I mean, it’s a very connecting color, very familiar color for a lot of people. So that’s also a great color to wear. Most people who are autumns, I tell them, you know, obviously, this should be more of your color when you are doing jury selection, if you’re a trial attorney, because this makes you look, you know, when they wear black, it’s like, oh, again, it’s like this. All people do is stare at that color, and it takes away of the effect. So if you wear brown as an autumn, you’re going to the focus is on you and what you’re saying, and it just helps to build that trust factor as well. So that’s another good color for trust building, too. Would be. Would be brown, but blue is the main one.

[00:33:30] Heather: So. Okay, so we’ve covered most of the main colors that I think we can think of. There’s a couple we haven’t, and I’m guessing there’s a reason why we haven’t covered this yet, and we’ll get to that in a second. But are there any other colors that you really recommend attorneys pay attention to and utilize?

[00:33:48] Kerry: Yes. So two of the main ones would be white and also yellow. And I have two quick stories that go with each of these.

The Persuasiveness of White: Innocence & Purity

So with white, white, obviously is a color of innocence and purity. So, again, you know, if you have a client, it’s a criminal trial. White is a good shade to mix with that brown to, you know, kind of. Again, you want to make sure that people look at your client and think, okay, yeah, that guy, he’s probably innocent. Or, you know, again, it’s just a tool to use, not a go to thing that’s going to clear everything up. However, white is the color of purity. But I would also say, depending upon what your situation is, what you’re trying to accomplish, white could be a really good color for the attorney to wear as well.

And one of the best examples I can give of this is the Amber heard Johnny Depp trial that went on and on and on for so many weeks. I got so much content out of that trial. But one of the key things that happened during that trial, one of the times that Camille Vasquez was cross examining Amber heard, she wore an all white suit, and she was a blade. It was a nice suit. It wasn’t anything. You know, I don’t think you could tell what kind of designer it was, but it was just a white suit. Now, when she came into court, I think she had a black jacket over it. And then when she got up to cross examine and she really hammered her that time, I mean, she really, really, really went after her. And I’ve heard in interviews, I’ve tried to interview her myself. I’m still working on that. But I’ve heard her say in interviews that she was so focused on preparing for the trial, they weren’t really thinking about what they were wearing, even though they knew it was going to be televised. But I thought, wow, that was just ingenious, because that was really kind of considered sort of a domestic violence violence.

You know, he was trying to reprieve himself or, you know, like, hey, I didn’t do this, and, you know, get his character back. So she really went after Amber heard that day. And I thought, you know, most people who have been in a domestic violence situation never like to see an attorney hammer somebody who, you know, and I speak from personal experience with that, so we never want to see that. But because, you know, I thought maybe it was planned, maybe it wasn’t. But the fact that she wore that suit, it projects the innocence of his story. Like, this is true. He’s, my client is innocent. And I thought, wow, you know, that was. That was ingenious. And again, there was another article that was written after the case was. Was settled that. And it was a lady in Australia who is also an attorney and psychologist, and she actually talked about. That was. That was a great selection choice.

You know, it was a really good choice for her to wear that, because, again, you know, they picked her as a woman to cross examine a woman who was claiming domestic violence, and they caught her in so many lies, and they were, you know, she was basically saying, well, you lied about this. She really went after her. So everything culminated together. So it was, again, another nice tool. I don’t know if that was done intentionally, but that’s another way. Like, you know, again, depending upon what you’re trying to do with the scenario that you’re in for your client, you know, white could also be a good color for the attorney to wear as well.

And there’s so many. And they weren’t talking about, like, oh, it was an Armani suit or it was a Chanel suit. It was, hey, it was a white suit. You know, that was really a great choice of color. There was another interview that someone else did, another attorney who has a podcast who was following the trial, he said the exact same thing. Like, that was a great choice. You know, she comes out in all white. I mean, wow, that’s so powerful. So the fact that it garners media coverage after the fact tells you something, right? You know, so white is another good color as well. And yellow would be my other one that I would say I can talk about for a term.

The Color Yellow (Utilize Carefully)

[00:37:41] Heather: So what about yellow? Because I would never, ever, ever in a million years think of wearing yellow. I will say yellow doesn’t tend to look good on me at all, and it doesn’t seem to matter what color yellow. But, yeah, that’s part of it. But I find that surprising. So what about yellow?

[00:37:58] Kerry: Okay, so yellow in general is a. It’s a very cautious color. Now, in usually with yellow, people associate it with fun, happy times. It’s the color of the sun.

You know, when people look at yellow and they’re like, oh, wow. You know, like, it’s, it’s sort of a good, happy color. So it really depends on the occasion that you want to wear it to. So what I always recommend is, okay, you’re going to a baby shower, you want to wear yellow, great. Wear yellow. That’s appropriate. Going to a wedding, wear yellow, pastel yellow, or whatever yellow dress you want to wear, or yellow tie, great. You’re going to an Easter service, great. Wear yellow because it’s a happy occasion.

Anytime you’re in an occasion where things could go awry, things could get bad, the person’s not going to like what you have to say, leave yellow out of it. A lot of times when I speak at SHRM, which is the HR association here in the United States, I always tell people if you’re going to fire somebody, they’re going to usually do it on a Friday and you’re going in there, maybe you have to be the witness that the other person’s firing, but you just have to sit there as the witness. Never wear yellow because obviously the person’s getting fired.

They’re not going to be happy when they see yellow and they’re already agitated or mad. It triggers our fight or flight mode mentality as human beings. Our caution signs are yellow for a reason, because you can see most people actually kind of miss stop signs even though they’re in red, but they notice those caution signs and it makes them go, oh, what, what do I need to pay attention to? What’s, what’s coming around the corner or this road’s going to be slippery, whatever it might be. People pay attention to yellow more, but it triggered, like, what? You know, it’s like they’re on guard now.

So if they’re going to be on guard and now you’re firing them and now they’re going to be angry, now they’re going to probably, their voice is probably going to get elevated. They might stand up and start yelling. You want to avoid that at all costs. However, again, it depends on the situation, what you’re trying to do. So if you’re in court and you have to cross examine someone and you really need to, I got to make, you know, this guy’s good. They prepped him really well, but I need to get him, you know, off his game. Where’s some yellow?

And another good example of this, you know, I talked about, there’s two examples actually in court. So one is Benjamin, when Johnny Depp, Amber heard, Benjamin Schuerte. One of the other days where Amber Heard was being cross examined by one of their other attorneys, he wore, and again, I don’t know if he did it on purpose. He’s known for wearing very outrageous ties. You know, he loves colorful ties. So this particular day, he wore a very bright yellow and bright blue striped tie, like really big stripes. And it really stood out. And obviously, when Amber heard was being cross examined, that’s, that’s her view. Johnny Depp and his attorney, Benjamin Chu. So she was really getting frustrated. And that was actually when she brought up about something about one of his past girlfriends that she kept saying, oh, he abused her or pushed her down the steps. Kate moss. And they, she brought it up. And that was apparently a really good thing because, like, the next day, Kate Moss was being cracked there. They brought her in as a witness to say, hey, he never pushed me down the steps. But she was really getting flustered. And it wasn’t so much anything that the attorney was saying or how he. Well, it was what he was saying, but not how he was saying it. But I thought, oh, I wonder if he did that on purpose. Did he wear yellow on purpose? Because that’s what she’s looking at.

[00:41:28] Heather: She’s yelling, yeah. To make it even worse.

[00:41:32] Kerry: Yes. And the other example is the Alec Murdoch trial, the South Carolina attorney who was on trial for murdering his wife and son.

The day of the closing argument, the defense attorney had him dressed appropriately. They had him in brown and white. You know, our two familiar colors are our innocent color. But what stole the show from him, there was a gentleman sitting behind him. I found out later the gentleman’s name was Wendell Butterfield, and he was there for security purposes. And he was wearing a light yellow suit, more darker yellow shirt, and a very intense yellow tie. So the entire time the jury was listening to the defense attorney, if they were looking at Alec, their eyes actually skipped past him and looked at Wendell Butterfield.

[00:42:18] Heather: Now all that yellow.

[00:42:20] Kerry: Exactly. So they said that they, I figured when I was watching the trial, because I was watching it on tv and my mother was with me, and I said, where does your eye go when you watch this? And she said, that guy with the yellow. And I’m like, exactly. And I said, I think they’re going to come back pretty quickly with a verdict. They’ll probably come back tomorrow with a guilty verdict, like an hour, 2 hours later. They said it was in record time. Now, I’m not saying that the yellow had everything to do with that. But I can guarantee you, if the jury had to sit there and listen for 30 minutes, however long it was, and they’re staring at yellow, they’re going to be agitated. They’re going to be off. They’re going to be like, enough already. Let’s just go. Let’s just. I’m tired of this. This. Exactly. So those are two, I would say if you want to, if you got to cross examine someone, you need to get them upset, then, yeah, wear a yellow tie.

[00:43:05] Heather: You know, yellow to your benefit. But it can also be a problem.

[00:43:10] Kerry: It can be a detriment. Yes.

[00:43:11] Heather: Yeah. So be careful and be thoughtful about how you use it. Are there any other colors that attorneys need as we wrap this up, need to be aware of or beware of utilizing?

Wear the Right Shade For Your Coloring

[00:43:24] Kerry: I think we kind of covered the gamut today. So I would say, you know, again, I think the bigger thing is, is making sure that you’re wearing the right shades of that. And I’ll close with a really quick story.

One of my clients that I worked with many years ago, her name is Nicole, and I was like, hey, can I, you know, can I use your pictures? We did from time to time, we’ll do photo shoots with color, you know, for people. And she is a business coach, and she was finding when she was going out networking, she’s like, oh, gosh, you know, people are not. I wish people would approach me more. You know, they’re like, all right, when you get here. We did her color analysis. She’s an autumn. And I said, bring what you normally wear.

So she had a couple of shirts. One of them that she wore a lot was a orange colored shirt. Now, orange, obviously, is a good color for an autumn. However, this particular shirt had, it was too cool. It had too much blue undertone in it, so it was almost like a fluorescent orange. And we took photos of her, and I have them side by side.

I showed her, I said, see, when you wear this, you. Because she was like a vitality type coach, you know, for businesses. Like, hey, you know, live your best life as a coach. And when I look at you in this, I said, you look tired. You look, you know, you actually made her look older. And she saw it. She’s like, oh, my gosh. Yeah, I need to throw that shirt away now. One of the other shirts that she would wear was a cocoa color, which is a great color. A nice warm brown, light colored brown. And those pictures were taken not even an hour apart during our photoshoot. She looked younger, more approachable, more like, hey, I want you to come and help me. Yeah, I would definitely want to come and talk to you. And you look, you know, like, wow, you’re somebody I want to network with. It was like night and day.

[00:45:14] Heather: Wow.

[00:45:15] Kerry: So that is really a bigger thing more than anything, because, you know, you can, you can load up on yellow. You want to get people upset, you can load up on yellow. You want to calm people down, you can load up on pink. But if you’re an autumn and you’re not wearing more of those salmon shades of pink, rather than like what I need to wear, like a carnation pink, then it’s going to have, it’s the effect that you want won’t be there. That’s probably like the biggest thing I would say to an attorney.

[00:45:38] Heather: So more of the story. Yes. Listen to everything we’ve talked about, but also know what colors look good on you and wear the right shades of color.

[00:45:50] Kerry: Exactly.

[00:45:50] Heather: Well, thank you so much for being here. Why don’t you quickly tell people where they can find you online?

[00:45:57] Kerry: You can go to dot. I do work with attorneys. If you do want to have a color analysis, if you want an attorney color toolkit where I actually break all this stuff down for you so it’s done. You can keep it in your closet. We even do a closet audit based on emotion. So I’m happy to work with someone if they want to do that, and if they just want to take the class that I have, they’re welcome to do that too. And if they have a quick question, I’m always here to answer any questions as well.

[00:46:26] Heather: And I will put links in the show notes to where to find you and where to find all of those things. Thank you so very much for coming on today.

[00:46:34] Kerry: Thank you, Heather. It’s an honor to be on the show and just, I love the podcast, so keep doing what you’re doing.

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I’m Heather Moulder, a former Big Law partner (with 18+ years of experience) turned lawyer coach who traded in my $2.5MM practice to help lawyers achieve balanced success. Because success shouldn’t mean having to sacrifice your health, relationships or sanity.

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