by Ken Lopez
Some time ago, I wrote about my intensive preparation for a conference speech that I was asked to give and about the 21 steps I took that made it successful. We've also written about how even the greatest athletes practice with their coaches and how great actors prepare with the assistance of others.
It seems to me, however, that most lawyers preparing for trial are hesitant to take advantage of coaching as a means of practice. So I thought I would share my experience, in close to real time, about how I am preparing for an upcoming commencement speech.
This coming May, I’m giving a speech at the graduate campus of the University of Mary Washington, where I serve on the Board of Visitors. It will only be 10 to 15 minutes long, but it is an important speech for me -- and that much more so for my audience. So I'm taking preparation for this event quite seriously.
One of the first steps I took after being asked to deliver this speech was to engage a coach. Now, I'm an experienced speaker. Part of my business is to train others on how to best present themselves. My firm publishes books on the topic of presenting well and making great visual presentations. So why would I need a coach?
I need a coach because my responsibility is to do as good a job as I possibly can in this speech, and a coach can help me do that. This responsibility is quite similar to the duty that a litigator owes to his or her client.
Perhaps it's helpful to remember that every professional athlete works with a coach, no matter how far along in their craft they are. I've always wondered why most lawyers don't do the same during their trial preparations.
So over the coming two months I'll be meeting with my coach several times and delivering practice commencement speeches. The coach’s job will be to give me feedback on my style, my content, and my message. I have no question that my talk will be better with his help than if I had done it alone.
So if you have a trial coming up, I invite you to talk to me. I can recommend a coach of almost any variety who can assist with your trial preparation. Some work at A2L on the litigation consulting and jury consulting teams. However, I know people ranging from acting trainers to body language experts. There are good people working in the industry. Take advantage of them, be courageous and improve your trial presentation. You and your client deserve it.
Other articles and free e-books related to trial preparation, practice, coaching, and giving a great presentation on A2L Consulting's site:
- FREE E-BOOK DOWNLOAD: How To Create Persuasive Visual Presentations
- Practice, Say Jury Consultants, is Why Movie Lawyers Perform So Well
- Litigator & Litigation Consultant Value Added: A "Simple" Final Product
- Litigation Consultant: Embrace a Two-Track Strategy & Win the War
- 3 Ways to Force Yourself to Practice Your Trial Presentation
- FREE E-BOOK: Making Great Speeches and Connecting with Your Audience
- Accepting Litigation Consulting is the New Hurdle for Litigators
- 16 Trial Presentation Tips You Can Learn from Hollywood
- Mock trial services lead by a jury consultant with 400+ mock trials
- A2L's Micro-Mock helps lawyers practice on a budget