CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – OCTOBER 7, 2021-4
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS FOR MOCK TRIAL STUDENTS
9. Watch Yourself
Take a video of yourself giving your speech. And then watch that video.
Yes, you will feel awkward doing it. I’ve done this, and it was uncomfortable, but not nearly as bad as I had imagined. More importantly, I learned so much about my public speaking habits.
Please give this a try. I promise it is the single most impactful thing you can do to improve your public speaking.
As you watch, consider the same things you consider when you watch others. Look at your body language; listen to your voice. Is it easy for your audience to follow what you are saying, or do they have to really concentrate and focus?
10. Master Your Speech
Practice A LOT. Your goal is to be able to give your speech anytime, anywhere.
The more you practice, the less nervous you will be.
Practice everywhere. Practice as you blow dry your hair. (A good place to start, since even you won’t be able to hear yourself.) In the car on your way to school. In a crowded coffee shop. In front of the bathroom mirror.
After you’ve had a few practice runs on your own, practice in front of people: family members, friends, teachers.
Listen to their feedback. If there’s something don’t understand, or if they have trouble following your points, you need to clarify your speech. Anyone past the eighth grade should be able to follow along with what you’re saying, whether or not they’re in mock trial.
If you get comments that are more stylistic, consider them, but don’t feel obligated to incorporate every suggestion. That can quickly become overwhelming, and you might even get conflicting feedback. — During a law school argument, I was told that I smiled too much. But another judge on the same panel, who had watched the exact same delivery of the argument, told me I seemed unapproachable and should smile more. Go figure! — When it comes to your style, you are the best person to make decisions.
11. Have a Stay Cool Plan
Decide now what you’ll do if you draw a blank. If you know what to do in the worst possible scenario, you don’t have to fear it, and you can focus on delivering your best speech possible.
I call this a Stay Cool Plan. Here’s what I suggest: Remind yourself it’s no big deal. Just pause. Take a deep breath. Stand straight and assume an “open” body position. Think. If you’re still stuck, take a sip of water. Then think some more. If you’re still lost, just move on to the next thing you doremember.
You can even admit you are lost. But don’t look like panicked and say “uhh…I forgot what comes next!” Be graceful about it. For example: “I’ve lost my train of thought, but will return to it as soon as it comes to me. In the meantime, I’ll move on to discussing…” If the part you forgot comes back to you later, you can say something like “I’ve recalled a point I intended to make earlier. Returning to the topic of ….”