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Friday, July 1, 2011

Lawyer Communication: from Writing to Speaking

There's no doubt about it. Lawyers are great writers. Whether this is based on natural gifts or skills they've developed over the years, it serves them well to craft the content, the flow and the wordsmithing of their written messages.

Shift to speaking, and the circumstances can flip-flop from lawyers being confident to suddenly overwhelmed. Put many lawyers in front of a group for a public speaking event and the challenges they face include:

  • concern for audience's understanding their message
  • using language that isolates speaker from audience
  • unwillingness to move from behind a lectern to enter the audience's space
  • unwillingness to use effective eye contact
  • inability to relax into the moment
The fact remains that lawyers, like other business owners, need to find ways to balance working ON with working IN business. To do so for a service-based business, relationship is key. Relying on website and direct mail efforts drives minimal, non-relationship results. Networking, referrals and public speaking are the active pursuits which creates relationship and results. For these to work, speaking confidence is something to develop.

Are you a lawyer looking to get some support in your speaking confidence, whether in interpersonal skills such as learning how to speak to your own value, relate in conversation, relax into the moment, or in public speaking skills that address the challenges above? If so, I suggest you get away from the books and the online assistance and take a class in public speaking or communication skills where you can interact with others, join Toastmasters where you can be with others while growing your public speaking skills or invest in a speaking coach.

You will continue to benefit from your writing skills. Enjoy and use these. In addition, enhance your own self esteem by addressing your speaking skills. It will add to many areas of your life, let alone your business and career development.

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