Ah, the most feared thing for humans!!!  and all attorneys need to face the reality that they will be called upon to do some of it throughout their career.  Even transactional attorneys may need to present a program or at least do a YOU TUBE to promote business.  Public Attorneys who are trial lawyers need to ace public speaking. Public attorneys who want to get ahead in their firm, need to present ideas and thoughts at meetings.

So why is this so scarey for most adults?  True, extroverts have a lot less fear than introverts, although they are prone to talking too much or being off point and boring.  But what are the reasons for the fear?  Obviously one is that the public speaker is exposed. He or she is standing there commanding the audience’s attention.  Fear of being judged badly is certainly a foremost fear for Speakers.

Will the audience think I’m stupid? boring? or awkward.  What overcomes this?  CONFIDENCE.  Confidence in public speaking comes from basically knowing that you have something of value to give to your audience.  This, of course, comes down preparing the material to be informative but even more so, to be logical and simple enough for the audience to follow.  Too many times the speaker aims the material to the top 20% of the audience that may understand his or her ideas quickly but forgets about the 80% that could be interested if the material were presented in a simpler fashion.

spiral staircase with red carpet for a dizzying ascentSo Confidence will  likely  be available to the speaker if the speaker finds out what are the needs of the audience.  Say for instance you are presenting a program on marketing for lawyers.  If you are presenting this to a group of lawyers in a small town in Wisconsin your material will be quite different than if you were presenting the same subject in Chicago.  In reality, the distant may not be that much between the two venues in which you are speaking but the obvious information that will be of useful interest to each group is vastly different.

The presentation in Kenosha ( I lived there for two years)would probably still include advertising in the yellow pages, knowing the mayor, sitting on the Board of various organizations and some Linkedin presence.  On the other hand, this same presentation would stink if it were presented to a Chicago audience.  There you would want to talk about the new use of all the mobile apps, strong website and Linkedin presence and lots of work with the ABA (which is housed in Chicago) and the State and Local Bar Associations. There will be networking and membership in organizations but they will be different.  The lawyer’s time and energy needs to be focus in a much different manner than the small town lawyer.

This kind of talk is also tricky because you will have some really new and some really older lawyers.  Here you then need to figure out how to get to that 80% who need more solid direction than the top 20% who can take your instructions and implement them right away.  Sometimes offering follow up or resources is a good idea so that you don’t bore the top 20% with too many basic principals of marketing.

So you get the idea.  We’ll talk more about this subject in coming weeks because it is so important for attorneys to get comfortable with speaking when the opportunity arises.

Click here to enjoy a Ted Talk on Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking.