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Six new public speaking tips from our 2017 Victorian Golden Gavel Competitors

Six new public speaking tips from our 2017 Victorian Golden Gavel Competitors

By LIV Young Lawyers


This week the bright legal talents of our 11 competitors in the annual Victorian Golden Gavel Competition will contest for the title of the voice of this generation’s lawyers. In the second part of our feature on public speaking tips, we asked them to share some more of their funny and sometimes not-so-serious public speaking tips.

1. Don’t be afraid of silence

If you are speaking off the cuff, for example answering questions on a panel, take your time to consider the question and formulate a response before opening your mouth. I developed my public speaking skills through tutoring politics at the University of Melbourne – the students were too smart for me to give an ill-considered answer to their questions so I would always prefer to take them on notice and give a clear, informed answer at a later point. If you are speaking in a context where a response is required immediately, don’t be afraid to say “I haven’t the faintest idea” – people will respect your honesty more than they will judge your ignorance on that particular subject matter.

Hector Sharp, Graduate, Norton Rose Fulbright


2. Play to your strengths

If you are naturally very active, move around. If you have a good sense of style, emphasise slides or visual aids. If you have a loud, distinctive voice and are so incessantly cheerful you make others dry reach, quit your job and do TED talks. Everyone naturally has different strengths, and they’re the easiest things to put front and centre. Instead of stressing and spending time worrying about how to bring your weaknesses up to the “OK” level, just focus on hitting the high notes on your strengths.

Cal Samson, Law Graduate, King & Wood Mallesons


3. Don’t be afraid to laugh at your own jokes

If you don’t back yourself – no-one else will

Noam Greenberger, Practice Leader, LegalVision


4. Preparation is key

This might seem an obvious one, but it’s so much harder to present in a confident manner if you have no idea what you are talking about! If I am prepared, I feel confident, which makes the actual presenting much easier!

Tom Hickey, Lawyer, Lander & Rogers


5. Nobody expects you to be perfect, and it is important to remember nervousness is normal

Do not interpret that feeling, as a sign that you will perform poorly or embarrass yourself. Nerves are good; it keeps your head in the game and gives you that adrenaline rush which helps keep you alert and ready to perform. Sometimes there is no getting rid of your nerves, but the trick is to do what you can to minimise them. You can do this by knowing your material and being prepared. Practice in front of the mirror. Practice in front of your friends and family. If you are well prepared, no matter how nervous or terrified you may feel, you will give your best performance.

Zalman Bassin, Solicitor, Meridian Lawyers


6. Don’t make seal noises

Seal noises are ridiculous

Conor O’Bryan, Arnold Bloch Leibler


Spectator tickets are available online now for the 9th annual Victorian Golden Gavel Competition. Start your day with a laugh and don’t miss this fantastic event. You can learn more about the 2017 competitors (and enjoy a sample of their humor) here.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by commentators are not necessarily endorsed by the Law Institute of Victoria Ltd (LIV). No responsibility is accepted by the LIV for the accuracy of information contained in the comments and the LIV expressly disclaims any liability for, with respect to or arising from any such views.

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