CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – OCTOBER 4, 2021-1
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS FOR MOCK TRIAL STUDENTS
You’ve probably heard that public speaking is feared even more than death.
Public speaking is unavoidable in mock trial, and you should be proud of yourself for tackling it, instead of fearing it like most people do!
If you’re nervous about speaking in front of strangers (including a real judge!) in an open courtroom, these 13 tips will help you find your voice and speak confidently in a public setting. The 13 tips really boil down to these three basic ones:
- Be clear.2. Be yourself.3. Don’t be awkward.
Note: Throughout this article, I use the words “presentation” and “speech” to describe anything a mock trial participant might say. This may mean a pretrial argument, opening statement, arguments about an evidentiary objection, witness testimony, or a bailiff swearing in witnesses.
1. Make Sure Your Presentation Easy to Follow
Don’t let your audience get lost as they listen to you. Start by giving them an outline of the main idea of your speech. As you reveal the details, they will be able to follow along and see how those details fit in your story.
A numbered list is easy to follow. For example, you might start:
The Court should deny the defendant’s motion for three reasons: (1) Mr. Malfoy consented to the search of his apartment; (2) the drugs were in Officer Filch’s plain view on the coffee table in the living room of the apartment; and (3) Mr. Malfoy’s confession was properly obtained.
As you make your argument, the audience knows to listen for support for those three points. And they’ll be able to follow along with you because they’ll know the order in which you’ll talk about these point.
You should also use transitions to help your audience follow along. Let them know when you’re done talking about one point and about to move on to the next. A transition can be as simple as “Moving on to … [issue you’re about to discuss]…”
2. Use Your Own Words
Use words that are part of your speaking vocabulary. After years of writing formal essays, your speaking vocabulary is probably a bit different from your written vocabulary.
Most people write their speech and then try to memorize it. I recommend doing the opposite: you say your speech – don’t write it. This way, you’ll use words you actually speak, not the words you write.