Public Speakers Can Learn From Lawyers

by drjim on February 11, 2014

Not everything about lawyers is bad…

Not everything about lawyers is bad…
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All too often we like to make fun of lawyers – from telling lawyer jokes to laughing at those very bad late night TV commercials that they run. However, if we step back for a minute, we need to realize that a key part of the job of being a lawyer is to give speeches that carry very serious consequences. Lawyers truly understand the importance of public speaking. Perhaps there are things that lawyers can teach the rest of us about giving speeches…

It’s All About Confidence

If there is one thing that we can learn from how lawyers speak, it’s how to show our audience that we are confident. Confidence means that we truly believe in what we are saying. If you can’t show your audience that you are confident, then there’s no way that they’ll ever believe what is in your speech.

How to communicate confidence to an audience is the trick that lawyers know. There are a number of different ways to accomplish this trick. Speaking in a loud voice (not a quiet whisper) and making sure that you don’t use any “umm’s” or “ahh’s” will show confidence. Additionally, using your personality to take control of the room that you are speaking in and using good posture will go a long way in helping you to communicate the confidence that you are hopefully feeling.

There is a trick to this confidence thing that none of us must forget. It is possible to come across as being too confident – almost arrogant. You don’t want to let this happen to you. What you are going to want to do is to strive to radiate a type of so-called “humble confidence” where you acknowledge that your audience knows a great deal about what you are talking about; however, you have a type of stubborn confidence in your position.

You Can Never Be Too Clear

Lawyers have a problem. They can never be quite sure who they are talking to or just how much they know about the topic that is being discussed. What this means is that even if a lawyer has a good understanding of the topic that they are talking about, they can’t use fancy words or complicated concepts.

Instead, we can learn from what every lawyer is doing all the time: simplifying what they are saying. One big issue is that it is entirely possible that you might be talking too fast for your audience to keep up with you. You have to always be monitoring your audience and slowing things down if it starts to look like you are losing them.

One secret that lawyers use in order to boost the clarity of what they are telling their audiences is the pause. This simple speaking technique can significantly boost audience comprehension. Using a pause gives your audience enough time to comprehend what you just said before you launch into sharing your next idea.

What All Of This Means For You

The job of being a lawyer is a tough job under the best of circumstances. Although there are many different ways that lawyers earn their money, the ability to speak clearly and distinctly in a way that convinces people is an important part of their job. Lawyers have to master the benefits of public speaking. If we take a careful look at how they do this, we can learn a thing or two from them.

Lawyers give their speeches to small groups of people in tight quarters. This means that they need to radiate confidence in what they are saying. Any doubt or second guessing on their part will quickly be detected by their audience and their speech will fail to accomplish what they want it to. What lawyers are talking about can often be detailed and complicated. Their audience may not be able to understand the information that is being discussed. This means that a lawyer needs to be very clear and translate complicated ideas into simpler concepts that are easily understood.

I believe that we would all be very nervous if we were called on to stand in a court room and try to win over a jury using only our words. Lawyers are called on to do this every day and so we can observe how they do it and learn. For you next speech strive to emulate lawyers and show off your confidence and work on making your ideas even more clear than last time you talked about them. Do this well and you’ll get your client off every time you give a speech!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What do you think is the best way to show your audience that you are confident in what you are presenting to them?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

p>Back in the day, it seemed like every speech that we gave was the same. We’d show up in a room, the audience would sit quietly in their chairs, and then we’d take the stage and wow them. If our words weren’t working, we’d be able to see it in our audience’s face and we could adjust what we were saying to better match their mood. Well guess what: webinars have arrived and now all of the old rules no longer work for us.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rob Biesenbach February 12, 2014 at 10:45 am

The best courtroom litigators and rainmakers are great communicators, I agree, and much can be learned from them. As for the others? Well, many need help!

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