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Presentation Skills (Multi-page thread 1 2)

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Presentation Skills (Multi-page thread 1 2)

Bài gửi by Admin on Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:13 pm

The ability to create, communicate, and deliver your message in a credible, comfortable, and convincing manner is arguably one of the most important skills, if not the most important skill, an attorney can possess.

Whether one is presenting to a courtroom, a conference, a client, or members of the firm, the ability to communicate is essential. This one skill often determines whether an attorney is viewed as effective, a mediation or negotiation is successful, a client is retained, a strategy is considered successful, and a case is ultimately won or lost.

While there are a few individuals who are amazing and captivating public speakers without any training, most of us are not blessed with this skill at birth. We have to work at it.

I have had the opportunity to work with attorneys in both one-on-one and small-group settings, and while nothing makes up for training, the following five steps, nicknamed the "Triple S, Double P," can help most attorneys, regardless of talent level, natural communication ability, or position in the firm, when it comes to basic public speaking improvement.

S 1: Slow Down!


A well-known attorney begins his presentation before a packed industry convention loaded with potential clients. This individual has a reputation for being knowledgeable, charismatic, and informed. Sure enough, he makes his presentation, is engaging throughout, and uses positive body language, yet when he finishes and looks out at the audience, there is very little reaction. To make matters worse, everyone looks confused and a little bewildered.

Slow down! Slow down! Slow down!

Presenting is not a race. People want to hear what you have to say, but you have to give them the ability to do so.

Take a brief pause, a breath, a sip of water, whatever you need to do to slow yourself down. Your audience will appreciate it.

S 2: Smile!

Smiling is contagious. Period. Smiling will improve your confidence, will improve the disposition of your audience, and will improve your speaking — dramatically. Smiling is the equivalent of Body Language 101. Nothing will get the audience on your side faster than an authentic, genuine smile.

One note of caution: whatever you do, never, ever fake it. You will not fool anyone, and nothing spells insincerity like a fake smile. Think about your significant other. Think about your kids. Think about whatever will cause you to perk up even the slightest bit.

There is always something that will put a smile on your face, and you are the best person to know what that something is. So think of it, try to put whatever has you upset out of your mind (I know — easier said than done), and laugh at how impossible that is if you have to, but whatever you do, smile.

S 3: Stay Brief!


Stay brief. Keep it simple. Less is always more. Always.

We have all heard the descriptions "the lawyer's disease" and "talking like a lawyer." It is important to remember that less is always more.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best: "Be sincere; be brief; be seated."

P 1: Pause!

Do you want to reduce the number of times you use "ummm," "uhhh," "ahhh," and other uncomfortable sounds when you speak and are trying to gather your train of thought or are nervous or both? Learn to pause.

Do you want to keep control of your message and what you want to communicate? Learn to pause.

Do you want to ensure that your audience, or the jury, understands the emphasis you placed on what you just said or what you are about to say? Learn to pause.

When you face a jury of 12 or a convention of 5,000, every second of silence feels like an eternity — to you. It does not feel like an eternity to your audience. It feels like a second of silence!

P 2: Practice!


Trials, presentations, client pitches — these are not situations where you want to wing it! Attorneys routinely spend hundreds of hours preparing for important litigation, and it never ceases to amaze me how often litigators decide to "wing it" with the presentation angle, spending barely any time practicing the opening statement, getting feedback on it, tweaking it, and practicing it some more.

It is often said that Sir Winston Churchill practiced one hour for every one minute of each speech he was delivering. Imagine that — for a five-minute speech, Churchill would practice for five hours!

There are a few naturally gifted speakers who don't need much practice, just like there are a few athletes who can get by with little practice. However, for the rest of us, practice is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

Becoming a great public speaker requires a significant amount of time, patience, and training. However, by employing these five steps, your public speaking will improve, your ability to hold your audience's attention will improve, and you will feel more confident as you speak.

_________________

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