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 ….”

Just like you have fire drills at school, you should practice your Stay Cool Plan. That way, if you have to use it, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Special Tip for Pretrial Attorneys

If a judge asks you a question that you can’t answer, you can’t just ignore the question and move on to the next topic.

Follow your Stay Cool Plan and do your best to provide an answer. If you truly are stuck and cannot give any kind of answer, just admit it. Say something like “Your Honor, I don’t have an answer for that, but …”, then make (or reiterate) a strong argument for your position.

Admitting you’re stuck is far better than fumbling your way around it, and it can give you a lot of credibility. But, you don’t want to say “I don’t have an answer for that, Your Honor” after every question the judge asks you. This is a last resort!

12. Addressing the Judge

Do not call him or her “judge.”  It’s “Your Honor.”

When the judge asks you a question, answer it. Don’t pretend you’ve misunderstood the question. Don’t give an answer to the question you wish the judge asked. That will just annoy the judge.

13. Referring To Opposing Counsel

Although attorneys should never speak to opposing counsel directly during a trial, they may refer to opposing counsel. Try to catch their names when they make their appearances. Then refer to them by name, for example, “Ms. Granger” or “Mr. Weasley” (not “Hermione” or “Ron”).

You could also call them “counsel” or “the defense” or “the prosecution.”

Calling them “opposing counsel” isn’t very professional. It’s generally not how lawyers refer to one another, so it’s a bit awkward when it’s heard during mock trial.


I hope these 13 tips help you feel more comfortable speaking in a public setting. We’ve covered a lot of ground here, but remember, it all boils down to:

  1. Be Clear.
  2. Be Yourself.
  3. Don’t Be Awkward.

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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