We always encourage the lawyers we coach to practice alone, aloud, and a lot. We also suggest that they make video of themselves so they can watch their presentation. This suggestion, of course, is often met with grunts, groans, and general reluctance. Most people don’t like watching themselves on video. We regularly work with attorneys who have never seen themselves speak professionally on video. Goofing around on vacation, yes, giving a serious presentation, no. Why can we tolerate watching ourselves act casual but not serious?
If you really want to improve your presentation and become a more confident and articulate speaker, you need to get over it! Learn to watch yourself on video. After the first time watching, you’ll get used to it, and you’ll improve. And you’ll be way ahead of your competition, because everybody else will hate watching themselves more than you.
Why make a video? There is no better feedback than seeing and hearing yourself as others do. And it’s an easy way to identify ways to immediately improve your delivery. Watch this pep talk on why you should videotape yourself practicing.
Still not convinced? Follow these suggestion to make the video review a more pleasant experience:
- Be kind to yourself. Don’t focus on the negative. First look for things you are doing right.
- Don’t be overly critical of things you don’t like or cannot change. Things like “I need to lose weight” or “I do this funny thing with my lip” merely bring a negative energy to the process.
- Talking to a camera can be unnerving. Find something in the room (a chair, a picture on the wall) to speak to so you aren’t talking directly to the device.
- Look for quantifiable elements: When does your first meaningful gesture appear? How many seconds do you pause to let your listeners think? Once you know the numbers, you can set clear goals for these elements of persuasive style.