Verdict - Spring 2011 - (Page 18)
The spaces between the notes make the music. Likewise, the music of the spoken word relies on punctuating the silence.
how you react in the future. If you say “I’m scared. I can’t do this,” in the back of your mind, you’ll be saying, “This is really scary. I can’t do it. I know I can’t do it because of last time. So I must not be good at this.” Like yeast, the fear will grow. The savvy lawyer knows to feel the fear and do it anyway to experience engaging the deciders and rallying them as allies in your cause. Excitement can be a liberating pleasure. TIP 9: “Never let a crisis go to waste.” 4 Mistakes are the common denominator of performing and public speaking. You are going to screw up at some point, so don’t worry about it. Most of the time, no one but you knows what you were going to say anyway. If you do leave out something very important that the decider needs to know, then put it in.
Do not admit to a mistake; rather you can say, for example, “Something you don’t know is...,” or, “What I haven’t told you yet is....’” and then you go on. As far as the decider knows, this is what you intended all along. One way to anticipate mistakes is to imagine some of the things which might trip you up. Prepare strategies for dealing with problems like electricity outages, out of order Power Point presentations, graphics and animations that do not run on command, and the like. T IP 10: The Derailed Train of Thought. So there you are, deep in the heart of oral advocacy. Your delivery couldn’t get any better than this. And then your train of thought derails. It careens right off the tracks. No problem! Here’s a performer’s secret: pause, breathe in
deeply and calmly, release your breath in a controlled fashion and repeat the very last thing you said. These actions will jump-start your brain to resume the story you were telling. Guaranteed. You can also use this technique to control your emotions if you feel they are inappropriate or incongruent with your message. Pause, breathe, repeat, resume. Try it. You can also say to the decider(s), “My train of through just derailed. Let me glance at my notes to help me get it back on track.” They will love you for being human and introducing a moment of levity into your advocacy. What if you are interrupted by an objection or a question? If you have moved away from where you were speaking, simply resume the space you claimed. You can pick up the thread of the story by asking a rhetorical question. “Now where was I?” and off you go. Even the most rabid, tort-reform juries are humans at heart. Your job is to be as human as you can, ally as many as you can, and believe that more than anyone else in the room, you know exactly what you are doing. ● Diane is president and founder of Lightning Rod Communications, a full-service litigation consulting ﬁrm based in San Clemente, Calif. that helps trial attorneys nationally win more cases more often by utilizing storytelling techniques and practices designed to cut through complex issues to easily managed truths and universally-recognized stories that help direct the decision-maker. Diane performs small group research, case strategy development, legal communications, witness preparation, and other services. You can reach Diane at diane@lightrod. net or www.lightrod.net or follow her blog at: wyzgaonwords.typepad.com.
There are lots of things you could do after work — besides more work.
National Legal Research Group
1 2 3 4 Roger C. Schank. http://www.storydynamics.com. Winston Churchill. Rahm Emmanuel.
Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
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