You may be surprised who wants practice speaking

I remember when a global law firm reached out to engage me for delivering a conversation workshop to its summer interns.

“They need to have the social skills to quickly meet and communicate within the firm as well as demonstrate confidence in their abilities should we want them around longer.”

I got it. Makes sense, right, to have supervisors and mentors help the newbie get acclimated and hit the ground running? But then I got a follow-up call a few weeks later. “Merri, we’ve been talking to our attorneys about the workshop you’ll be doing for the summer interns, and they’d love to come, too. Can we include them?” Hmph. Seems not just the newbie needs or takes interest in conversation and speaking development. Am I surprised? No. What I know is we all could use this assistance. Not just the newbie. What surprised me was the push from the trainer’s perspective and the interest from those hearing about this firsthand.

Another week later, another phone call, and I learned this snowball had grown. “Merri, not only the interns and the attorneys but now the staff, also, want to be included in this workshop. What do you think? Can you do it?”

This was for a conversation workshop. Now the opportunity arose to cross all levels, sharing perspectives so far not yet heard. Of course I said “yes”. The results were amazing because of the breadth of involvement. Did only the NEWBIE want this workshop? No. They ALL took interest and participated.

Similarly, I have been leading small group presentation laboratories which include a series of meeting times through which all the participants speak to each other from the front of the room. Every time we meet. They get practice planning, rehearsing and presenting their message and also practice getting interrupted, getting constructive feedback, getting videotaped, getting used to watching themselves and learning and growing through the experience.

Guess who wants speaking practice? Only litigators? No. Only newbies? No. Only attorneys at the firms? No. Anyone who wants to take control of their career, wants to exert themselves, wants to pick up new technique, wants to enjoy the time and apply the practical lessons learned. Some of them sign up because of the number of presentations they give and they want to improve in. Some sign up because public speaking is such a powerful way to get out of one’s shell. Some sign up because of the impact on leadership and meeting participation or because of the incredible energy that comes from having done well in front of others, peers or otherwise.

Do you offer public speaking development in your firm? Not only your associates and partners who are regular conference presenters would attend. So would those who can relate to the folks above. You may be surprised who wants practice speaking.

Peer Presentation Group workshops

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On March 3rd, 2014, posted in: attorneys, confidence, public speaking, Uncategorized by