Category: Public Speaking
A presentation is never just about passing on information; you should always think about how you want your audience to feel, according to Tim Stockil in his book Start with an Earthquake: How to Make Presentations that Wow Your Audience. Speaking well in public is a skill which needs to be learnt through practice, and it helps enormously if you understand the fundamental principles that underpin it.
Sooner or later, almost all attorneys realise that speaking in public is part of the job, according to Brian Johnson and Marsha Hunter in their book The Articulate Attorney: Public Speaking for Lawyers. Most lawyers do not particularly enjoy public speaking, and most are not particularly good at it; but anyone who is smart enough to become a lawyer is smart enough to become a proficient and polished presenter, given appropriate technique and sufficient practice.
There are three techniques that are fundamental in public speaking: tell stories, be passionate and energetic on stage, and be sincere, according to Andrii Sedniev in his book Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker. Stories enable the audience to make an emotional connection with your message, energy enables you to communicate excitement, and sincerity is necessary for your audience to believe your message.
The book contains an extensive range of ways in which the impact of public speaking can be optimised, including:
- Setting can be just as important to the success of a speech as content and delivery
- While PowerPoint can provide limited assistance, it can also be one of the biggest distractions
- Physical exercises before giving a speech can be helpful in raising your energy level
- Good ways to start a speech include with a story and with a powerful “you-focused” question
- Storytelling can be made more powerful by using techniques for getting audience members imagining themselves inside the story
- Conflict is an important tool in telling a story, and should be escalated to a climax before resolution
- Good ways to end a speech include with a powerful story, a powerful question, or a call to action
- When creating a speech, do not write it down until you have finished it; this makes it sound more natural, and makes it easier for you to remember the content
At times the phrases used by the author betray his non-English-speaking background, but in my opinion that serves to make the book’s message more authentic rather than detracting from the reader’s experience. The lack of clearly discernible chapters makes the book appear to be an unstructured collection of tips rather than a coherent exposition on the art of public speaking; however, any minor defects are outweighed by the volume of useful information that the book provides.