Public speaking is a skill most attorneys need to master, especially if they intend on becoming litigators or trial attorneys. The ability to speak clearly, concisely, and charismatically in front of a large group of people is not something that comes naturally to many people. They need to practice! At Hastings & Hastings, our attorneys have the art of public speaking just about mastered. Following are some of the tips we used to overcome out fears and develop or skills.
Practice Makes Perfect
There is no substitute for practice. Even if you feel like you are a terrible public speaker, it is a skill that you can learn and get better at over time. Influential writer for The New Yorker, Malcom Gladwell, coined the concept of ’10,000 hours’ which dictates that with 10,000 hours of practice you can become a master at almost anything.
It is important to note, when you are practicing, you need to practice the right way. If you spend 10,000 hours practicing bad habits, you are just going to head in the wrong direction. Recording yourself speaking is a great way to analyze your practice. Play your speech back and try to note ways you can improve.
Find ways to get practical practice in as well. You can deliver a speech to yourself in front of a mirror 100 times, but that is very different from delivering a speech in front of real live people. Practice in front of real people as often as possible, even if it is just your spouse, sister, or roommate. Ask them for constructive criticism. It is likely that they will notice tendencies and ticks you never knew you had. This can help you address and correct small issues before you speak to a large audience.
Check back tomorrow for more tips for becoming a great public speaker!