X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Legal TV dramas have a lot to answer for. Watch any episode of LA Law and you would get the impression that US lawyers have to pass a test for good looks as well as their law exams. It does not fare much better in the UK – Judge John Deed gives the impression that all of the London Inns are actually dens of vice. Perhaps the one thing that all legal dramas do have in common is the way they consistently present lawyers as slick, articulate and never failing in their ability to hold an audience captive.

In reality, it is a different story. Most lawyers I have trained – regardless of the size of the firm or the geography – tell me that presenting does not come naturally to them, whether to clients, prospects or even within their own firm. Regardless of the size of their audience, some lawyers find presenting to a group of eight people just as daunting as speaking to more than 500 people.

No matter how technically brilliant lawyers are at their job, a public performance can be marred by talking too quickly, talking in monotone, getting bogged down in the detail, an obsession with PowerPoint and failing to think about what their audience really wants to hear. Is it any wonder, then, when a speaker looks up from the lectern, that half the back row of the auditorium are nodding off? The good news is that one does not have to spend a lifetime being a presentation bore.

Less is more

Lawyers are fascinated by detail but presentations should not be a forum to dump information. Do not begin with the premise that ‘the more I tell them the more they will go away with’. In fact the reverse is true: less is more. This can be partly due to the speaker thinking: ‘I need to tell them a lot to prove I know my job’, and partly on an assumption that because the speaker is interested in the detail, so too will the audience.

The audience does not want to know what the lawyer knows. They want to know what the implications are for them.

If you did a quick word association with ‘presentation’, many would probably cite such words as ‘PowerPoint’ or ‘slides’. While PowerPoint has its place, there is a danger that your audience’s attention can wander, even to the detriment of not listening at all.

With slides you need to remember that the audience will not be concentrating on you. If they are not concentrating on you, they certainly will not remember your key points or be influenced by what you are saying. Who makes the impact? You, as a highly competent professional or a highly-paid slide operator?

Key points to consider are:

This premium content is reserved for
Legal Week Subscribers.
Subscribe today and get 10% off.

A PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION PROVIDES:

  • Trusted insight, news and analysis from the UK and across the globe
  • Connections to senior business lawyers within the leading law firms and legal departments
  • Unique access to ALM's unrivalled, market-leading reporting in the US and Asia and cutting-edge research, including Legal Week's UK Top 50 and Global 100 rankings
  • The Legal Week Daily News Alert, Editor's Highlights, and Breaking News digital newsletters and more, plus a choice of over 70 ALM newsletters
  • Optimized access on all of your devices: desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Complete access to the site's full archive of more than 56,000 articles

Already have an account?

For enterprise-wide or corporate enquiries, please contact Paul Reeves on Preeves@alm.com or call on +44 (0) 203 875 0651

Dig Deeper

 

Legal Week Newsletters & Alerts

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your subscription, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters and alerts. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2018 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.