Five things great speakers do
Lawyers need to speak fluently and confidently but very few can. If you are speaking in your second language, it will be even more difficult. Here are a few ideas as to how you can improve. For more information on learning how to speak Legal English or Business English with fluency and confidence, contact us.
The Legal English School covers presentation skills, litigating and public speaking in the majority of our lessons but we find that lawyers need constant reinforcement and direction in order to get these crucial skills right. We asked some of our tutors for their advice on how to speak strongly.
1. The audience want you to succeed.
Remember to make eye contact with the people in front of you and engage them by having confidence. This comes from consistent rehearsals and having faith in your script. If you focus on earning the gift of the audience's attention they will want to reciprocate and listen to you.
2. Be passionate about your subject and/or your client.
One of the most important aspects to being successful in any courtroom is to have passion in your work and in your client. You must be able to establish your authority as a person who is worth listening to. That will be through your knowledge of Legal English, your confidence and your knowledge of the subject. You must be a pluasible and engaging person.
3. Always rehearse the experience you will have.
Never rehearse alone as you need to see human reactions as you deliver your speech.
Students of ours have delivered short speeches to animals and even people in coffee shops. Ask your Legal English teacher to listen to your speech and deliver relevant and direct feedback. Give your talk to your family, friends and colleagues. Rehearse often and for as many people as you can.
The more you rehearse, the more prepared you will be when you're in the courtroom to deal with what might go wrong. And the less nervous you will be, because you will have adapted to the stress of speaking in front of people.
One lawyer that we know has a podium in his office where he practises speeches to the court. Don't be afraid to try and replicate as closely as possible the situation that you will be in.
4. Try to deliver your speech as a conversation
An old law lecturer of one of our tutors walked into her first seminar of land law (not the most riveting subject) and began to read from a script. She lost the audience immediately. Even if your presentation sounds like a script, your audience won't be engaged. You must turn your speech into a conversation infused with your own style.
Don't try to speak like a lawyer in a movie you saw. Speak like you would with your friends.
5. Be aware of body language.
Words matter, but so does movement.
Ask your tutor to film your speech so you can also be aware of gestures that you make. In some British courtrooms, you will need to control your arm movements but if you deliver a speech to a group of executives, you can be more free.
Remember to also focus on your physiognomy or facial features. Watch how a great television presenter presents a report or reacts to their guest or co-host. You may need to exaggerate in the courtroom or on stage.
The Legal English School runs courses in London and Online for lawyers and law students who need to develop their speaking skills among many other aspects of communication. Find out more by contacting us today.