Johnson & Hunter, Inc.

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We’re excited to announce that our  communication skills books for attorneys are now available as audiobooks! The Articulate Advocate: Persuasive Skills for Lawyers in Trials, Appeals, Arbitrations, and Motions and The Articulate Attorney: Public Speaking for Lawyers are now available through most major audiobook vendors. Listen to samples of each title below! The Articulate Advocate:Persuasive Skills for Lawyers in Trials, Appeals, Arbitrations, and Motions, Second Edition By Brian K. Johnson & Marsha HunterCrown King Books;…
by Brian K. Johnson I recently observed a participant in one of our speaking skills programs, a guy well over six feet, who spent way too much time leaning on the lectern and touching the floor with one toe as he did so. All three “beginnings” I witnessed him present included a false start where his first sentence was mangled. His words didn’t flow because his hands didn’t flow; they were stuck grasping the lectern.…
by Brian K. Johnson I had an excellent follow-up question from a participant in a recent program. I thought it would be worth sharing my response here. His question was: “Regarding the ‘structured improvisation’ method – what do you do if you say something you shouldn’t (a gaff), but it is too late to take it back because the audience has already heard the first few words?” It Happens to Everyone First, I think it’s…
We’ve blogged before about how helpful it is to watch other speakers to learn from them. In our books and lectures, we recommend that you observe, adapt, and adopt to help develop your own personal style. When you hear a particularly effective speaker, watch and listen closely for what makes them impressive. The checklist below includes some things to look for to help identify what makes them an articulate, confident presenter. Observe, Adapt, Adopt…
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…