CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – OCTOBER 5, 2021-2
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS FOR MOCK TRIAL STUDENTS
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.
Prepare an outline of the main ideas of your speech, just a summary of the points you want to go over, in the order you want to go over them.
Using your outline as a guide, verbally explain your points. Make an audio recording of yourself as you do that. Don’t freak out about recording. You’ll be the only person to listen to it, so don’t worry about being perfect. Don’t worry if you say “um” or “like”, or have trouble coming up with the right words.
After you’ve recorded, listen to it and type out what you said. Leave out the “um”s and the parts where you couldn’t articulate what you wanted to say. You will then have a good chunk of your speech complete! You could also break up your speech into pieces and do this exercise, one piece at a time.
Witnesses should also say their speech, instead of writing it out first. This helps witnesses answer questions in character, instead of just reciting passages from the case packet.
3. Use the Right Tone
Speak as if you are on a job or college interview. Or as if you are meeting your significant other’s family for the first time.
Be respectful and somewhat formal. But still be yourself.
4. Embrace Pauses
Avoid saying “like”, “um”, etc., but don’t try so hard that you end up sounding awkward.
Don’t be afraid of a pause. Instead of using a filler (e.g., “um”), just stay quiet and skip that filler. This takes practice.
If you need some time to gather your thoughts before answering a question or responding to an objection, take a moment. I promise you that the silence is not as long as it feels in your head.
Which brings me to my next point.
5. SLOW DOWN.
I’ve seen so many students deliver their speech so quickly that they literally turn red because they haven’t given themselves a chance to breathe! Don’t do that! Breathing is kind of important
Also, if you speak too quickly, it’s hard for your audience to keep up with you. Slow down so that they can digest the points you’re making.
When you pause, the last thing you said has a chance to “sink in” with your audience. Consider incorporating pauses strategically to emphasize important points.