Whether a lawyer is pitching for business, or making a presentation to an audience, certain communication skills are basic to a successful outcome. I ran across some presentation tips in a talk by Jill Chernekoff, a former TV reporter, to the Delaware Valley Law Firm Marketing Group. Jill was one of four panelists on a program and her tips were captured in an article by Mary Beth Pratt of MBPratt Consulting entitled “From the Strategic to the Tactical: Four Experts Offer Advice.”

I was very impressed with Jill’s advice. As a rule on this blog, I generally do not “list and link” as do some others. Rather, I prefer to add my insight into a topic, as well as link to others who have addressed the topic, or are the source of my “inspiration.” Today is an exception. In the interest of avoiding making this post way too long, and possibly not adding any additional value at all, I am repeating Jill’s presentation tips as they appeared in the article. Here goes:

  • Speak to express, not to impress. Forget your ego; identify with your audience’s struggles.
  • Be authentic. Tell the truth, speak from the heart; be real; speak on what you know. Get real to connect with your audience. Use "I" phrases, not "you" phrases – using "you" creates a gap between speaker and audience. Lose the need to be right.
  • The number one goal of any presentation is relatedness – it’s how you connect with your audience.
  • Show that you care – talk with the audience to learn what they care about.
  • Know what your "elevator" speech is – who you are, what distinguishes you from others, what you do, what problem you solve. Your goal is to create connectedness – leave them wanting more.
  • Maintain eye contact. Talk to individuals within the group/audience. Be sure to wear your nametag on the right side, where it’s easier to read when shaking hands.
  • Know your PAL: Purpose; Audience; Logistics. Arrive early for meetings/speeches; get to know the AV person, etc. If you use PowerPoint, remember that you are the "power" – know how to use it correctly.
  • It’s all about THEM – the audience, the other person, who’s asking, "What’s in it for me?"
  • Prepare, don’t wing it. If you are prepared, you will look like you’re winging it. Practice your speech/presentation. Written language is different than spoken language; presentations are for the ear, not the eye.
  • Have a strong closing segment, a call to action. Define what you want your audience to do and say when they leave.

Excellent advice, Jill. Thanks.