Why is successful communication so difficult?
Ambitious international lawyers need to present with confidence and panache in English but why are so few able to do it?
There are many criticisms you can throw at the presidency of Donald Trump but the one that draws the ire of Legal English UK the most was the speechmaking style of the former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions has worked in law and politics all his life yet his speeches were flat and uninspiring. He resorted to reading from his script far too often and eye contact with the audience was rare.
Speaking Legal English
If a native speaker who was at one point the top lawyer in his country struggles with communicating effectively then international lawyers have to understand that learning how to use Legal English with confidence and fluidity should be a vital element of their working lives. According to analysis by Legal English UK, 61% of people believe that the way we speak has negatively impacted us in our professional lives.
Umming and erring
Any successful lawyer needs to balance confidence, clearness of tone and authenticity. But how can this be achieved? We teach our students to avoid filler words such as "err" and "erm" and to avoid unnecessary repeating of words. Lawyers should also seek to avoid a flat tone of voice that bores the audience (as with our friend Mr Sessions).
The problem with Language Schools
We are not going to talk about how great Legal English UK is compared to other language schools as this is not a marketing piece. Our tutors have worked for schools of English around the world and know that the methods of teaching are usually old fashioned, the teachers are poorly paid, the schools are owned by millionaire conglomerates that don't care about the students and there are too many students in a class.
You will learn something when you attend a language school but you won't have that laser focus on communication from an expert teacher that schools such as ours will provide.
Another thing that our teachers teach our students is that they try wherever possible to avoid the easy way out. It is sometimes too easy to rely on Powerpoint in presentations or to send an email when a quick chat is possible.
Keep your presentation or speech as simple as you can. If you have to memorise it, memorise it in short chunks than can be separated. Remember to speak slowly and clearly, and pause where necessary.
Legal English Language Training runs courses in London and online for ambitious international lawyers, judges, law students and legal professionals who need to develop their communication skills in a second language.