Johnson & Hunter, Inc.

Johnson & Hunter, Inc., is a legal communication consulting firm providing professional development for lawyers. We teach persuasion and advocacy for litigators and public speaking skills for transactional attorneys. Founded by Brian K. Johnson in 1980, our company trains lawyers—and only lawyers—through lectures, small group workshops, and individual coachings, and by serving on the faculties of trial advocacy skills and appeals programs. Our books, on-demand videos, and articles support our techniques for public speaking, advocacy, and mock trial training. Brian K. Johnson and Marsha Hunter are the principal consultants. Our company is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Johnson & Hunter, Inc. Blogs

Blog Authors

Latest from Johnson & Hunter, Inc.

In our last post we discussed unscientific and objectionable, yet widespread, ideas about speaking skills that we continue to encounter when we teach. We discussed why the idea that speakers should stay inside “the box” when gesturing is bad advice. Now let’s dispel another common myth regarding eye contact. Internet Myth #2: Look at Foreheads, Not Eyes The second idea we heard recently, and frankly for years, is the suggestion to avoid looking people in…
In the last many years, we have worked closely with our legal Professional Development colleagues to improve not just how we teach, but how we can achieve better outcomes for our speaking skills programs. It is a lifelong pursuit as we strive to keep getting better results for our participants, and for ourselves. We are always pushing to achieve a world-class standard. We want to deliver the best teaching, and to make our students the…
Listeners pay close attention to the beginnings of presentations. Minds often wander in the middle, and retention drops. When the listener gets a signal that the end is near—“In conclusion…”— attention increases once again. Primacy is the first thing listeners hear; recency is the last. Use primacy and recency to structure and remember your presentations. Both you and your audience will benefit. It will be easier to hold your listeners’ attention throughout a presentation if…
Many speakers bury their noses in their notes because they’re gripped by the fear, “What if I forget?” But that’s the wrong question! The question is, “When I forget, how will I recover?” Plan to forget. Know that it is going to happen, and be prepared. “Let’s move on.”The transitional utterance “Let’s move on” can be a useful way to explain and justify your taking a look at your notes and pausing to gather your…
by Brian K. Johnson To size up attorneys before coaching with them individually, I ask them to describe their feelings about public speaking. “Where do you fall on the Love-Hate Speaking Spectrum? Love it, hate it, or somewhere in between?” Many attorneys with some speaking experience answer, “Once I get going, I actually like it. But I hate those first few minutes.”   Even excellent public speakers with lots of experience say something similar. “Frankly, I’m…
Does your voice trail off at the end of your sentences? It is natural for your voice to fade at the end of a sentence as you run short of breath. Soft-spoken people especially tend to trail off on the final phrase or word of a sentence. When listeners cannot understand a speaker, it is often the case that the endings of sentences are too soft. To counter this tendency, consciously speak more loudly as…
There is a critical gap between your brain’s capacity to know something and your body’s ability to know how to do it physically. Practice bridges that gap. What your brain knows and understands, your body must practice to execute well. Suppose, for example, you wish to become an expert downhill skier. You read the best book available on the techniques required. Assume, too, that you’re blessed with a photographicmemory and are able to remember every…
A mantra of our public speaking techniques is breathe in and speak out. Breathe in to fill your lungs, and once they’re filled, use the air in your lungs to power your voice. From the dawn of time until the advent of the microphone, public speakers had to be able to project their voices at great volume. Imagine Caesar addressing the Roman legions, or Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address to upwards of fifteen thousand listeners—outdoors and…
Many of our techniques address “Speaking well as you think on your feet,” and we also have advice for speaking while sitting. You will be required to speak sitting down at times throughout your career, of course. Whether engaged in a group practice meeting, a client meeting, or presenting on a panel in front of microphones, take care that you think about your body position as you sit, just as you do while standing on your…