I've written about people who present well using PowerPoint many times before. Some of those articles include:
- President Obama: Presentation Graphics: Why The President Is Better Than You
- Law Professor Lawrence Lessig: Lawyer Delivers Excellent PowerPoint Presentation
- Dan Pink: Dan Pink, Pixar, and Storytelling for the Courtroom
- Nancy Duarte: Litigators Can Learn a Lot About Trial Presentation from Nancy Duarte
- Scott Harrison: Every Litigator Should Watch Scott Harrison Deliver This Presentation
- Me: 21 Steps I Took For Great Public Speaking Results
Each of these articles offered some useful lessons both in designing good trial presentations and in the art of presentation.
Yesterday, the world saw one of the great PowerPoint presentations of all time. If it were given in a courtroom, this presentation would be in the top one percent of courtroom presentations (not for beauty but for effectiveness). However, this presentation was not in a courtroom at all.
Still, which famed trial lawyer do you imagine gave this presentation? As the title suggests, it wasn’t a trial lawyer at all. The presentation was delivered by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
If you don't agree with the man or the content, put aside your politics and learn from the presentation. Every trial lawyer should do AT LEAST this well in the courtroom. There are few excuses not to, and every client should demand a performance at this level.
If you have (or are) a client who understands the outsized value of investing in the most critical presentations of your case, our team can get you to this level. Every time. This is exactly the kind of work we do with the world's top trial lawyers every day.
Watch all or some of Prime Minister Netanyahu's presentation and read my commentary on it below to understand why this presentation is so effective and how any trial lawyer can learn from it.
The list of things done right in this presentation is very long. Let's look at a handful, and I will link back to an article where we made these recommendations. Each of these underlying teachings is a technique that our litigation consultants use to help coach trial lawyers and maximize their chance of winning.
- He looks the part: 10 Things Litigators Can Learn From Newscasters
- He chose the right tie: Litigation Graphics, Psychology and Color Meaning
- He delivers on all five of these promises: 5 Things Every Jury Needs From You
- He establishes a clear narrative and drama early: Are You Smarter Than a Soap Opera Writer?
- He uses an immersive style: New Study: A Graphically Immersive Trial Presentation Works Best
- He uses surprise to engage and persuade: Could Surprise Be One of Your Best Visual Persuasion Tools?
- Persuasive images are used immediately: Persuasive Graphics: How Pictures Are Increasingly Influencing You
- The use of deposition-like video is brilliant for setting the stage: 6 Tips for Effectively Using Video Depositions at Trial
- He presents in a modern 16x9 format (like an HDTV not an old tube TV): Free Webinar: PowerPoint Litigation Graphics - Winning by Design™
- He does not talk over the messages: 12 Ways to SUCCESSFULLY Combine Oral and Visual Presentations
- Captioning is well handled on videos: 6 Tips for Effectively Using Video Depositions at Trial
- He is very practiced: The Magic of a 30:1 Presentation Preparation Ratio
- The core opening introductory message is clear and compelling: How to Structure Your Next Speech, Opening Statement or Presentation
- Netanyahu used a hot seater: What a Great “Hot Seat Operator” Can Add to a Trial Team
- The theatrics in the form of the binders and the CDs are just brilliant: Using Scale Models as Demonstrative Evidence - a Winning Trial Tactic
- The level of preparation is clear and is what is expected of elite presenters - even by juries: Practice, Say Jury Consultants, is Why Movie Lawyers Perform So Well
- The hand gestures are well done: 5 Things TED Talks Can Teach Us About Opening Statements
- The call outs are simple and excellent: 3 Styles of Document Call-outs Used at Trial
- The translating of scale and size into terms people understand is clear and convincing: 6 Ways to Convey Size and Scale to a Jury
- You don't have to read Farsi to understand the nuclear materials, he says: Your Trial Presentation Must Answer: Why Are You Telling Me That?
- He makes limited use of bullet points: 12 Reasons Bullet Points Are Bad (in Trial Graphics or Anywhere)
- He organizes his message into five points and enumerates on the slides: Litigation Graphics: The Power of Checklist Trial Exhibits
- He uses limited text on slides throughout the presentation!: How Much Text on a PowerPoint Slide is Too Much?
- His slides are clean, uncluttered and generally have a single message: 12 Ways to Eliminate "But I Need Everything On That PowerPoint Slide"
- He includes animated graphics: 16 PowerPoint Litigation Graphics You Won't Believe Are PowerPoint
- He contrasts what the Iranians said vs. the reality and deploys other credibility attacks in one evidence-backed attack after another: Like It or Not: Likability Counts for Credibility in the Courtroom
- He tells you what to conclude: Your Trial Presentation Must Answer: Why Are You Telling Me That?
- He repeats (language and video) for effect and clarity: A Surprising New Reason to Repeat Yourself at Trial
- His use of storytelling throughout the presentation is excellent: 5 Ways to Maximize Persuasion During Opening Statements - Part 2
- He makes NONE of the 12 mistakes in this article: The 12 Worst PowerPoint Mistakes Litigators Make
- He has been well coached by presentation consultants like us: Your Coach Is Not Better Than You – in the Courtroom or Elsewhere
Nothing about this PowerPoint presentation is particularly sophisticated. In fact, there are many things that could be done to make it considerably better and more persuasive. However, above all else, it shows what a well-practiced presenter can do. VERY few trial lawyers prepare to the point where they can present at this level and if they would work more closely with elite litigation consultants, whether A2L's litigation consultants (pdf) or others, they could do even better than Benjamin Netanyahu.
Here's the ultimate takeaway: it's not some innate gift that helps a presenter be world-class. Instead, it's the humility that allows someone to practice over and over getting these critical presentations just right that makes anyone appear to be world-class.