Language

Ladies and Gentlemen!

If, as an advocate, your habit is to say “ladies and gentlemen of the jury, ” you may sometimes be wrong. Check out Brian K. Johnson’s blog post on why you should let go of this old-fashioned phrase at Attorney at Work.

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Handwriting, Memory, and Horizontal Notes

by Brian K. Johnson Last fall Scientific American MIND magazine featured an article about handwriting and memory. It got me thinking about the value of carefully creating notes for public speaking with pen and paper. “Minds encode the relative locations of words and paragraphs, a blueprint of thought without which text may be less differentiated, […]

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The Music of Your Voice: Walking Down the Steps

by Brian K. Johnson “May it please the court?” Is it a question? Or is it a statement? “May it please the court.” Legal writing guru Brian Garner offered a helpful historical analysis of this introductory utterance in an ABA Journal article last year. He set out to determine whether it is a question or […]

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M.J. TOCCI AND ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING: CONFRONTING OFFENSIVE SPEECH

by Marsha Hunter Two weeks ago we lost an exceptional teacher and tireless mentor for women lawyers, M.J. Tocci. She died in hospice after a years-long battle with cancer. Friends and colleagues have been remembering her inspiring assertiveness, so I’ve updated an article I wrote ten years ago while on assignment for Women in Aviation […]

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Public Speaking at Its Finest: Actor Peter O’Toole’s sublime vocal legacy in less than two octaves

by Marsha Hunter   Actor Peter O’Toole died a few weeks ago at 81, leaving the world a less mellifluous place. His distinctive voice now can be heard only in film and audio archives. It will not ring out again from the stage of any theater, reverberating in listeners’ ears, sending spines tingling and raising […]

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The King of Gesture Explains the Universe

by Marsha Hunter I love this guy! Dr. Lawrence Krauss is a physicist who teaches at Arizona State University, and a monthly commentator on the local TV news program Horizon. He is one of my favorite gesturers, drawing pictures in the air as he illustrates the latest developments in physics. Like many IP lawyers who […]

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A Simple, Reliable Script for Impeachment by Prior Inconsistent Statement

Witness_impeachment

by Marsha Hunter Listening to the direct examination of opposing counsel’s witness, you hear what you are fairly certain is an inconsistency from his deposition. Your internal “Impeachment Alert” goes off in your head because it is a significant difference. You begin to consider your options. Looking at the deposition, you confirm that you are […]

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What Words Would You Emphasize in The Gettysburg Address?

by Marsha Hunter Read this speech out loud. Which words call out for emphasis? Read it again. How do you feel while reading it? Read it again.           Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the […]

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The Landscape of Argument: Gestural-Rhetorical Templates for Public Speaking

Cicero denouncing Cataline When people ask me what I do for a living, my stock reply is, “I teach lawyers how to talk.” They laugh, and then we may engage in a more substantial conversation about attorneys, public speaking, persuasion, or language. Never has anyone observed, “Ah! Rhetoric!” The study of public speaking has roots […]

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How to Speak as Well as David Boies

by Marsha Hunter David Boies spoke outside of the United States Supreme Court after the decisions on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8. He is, of course, one of America’s most prominent trial lawyers, and a remarkably well-spoken one. It was fascinating to hear him shape his thoughts about the decision, without notes, and with only […]

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