A week ago 21 people sat down in the courtroom. We were the chosen few to appear that day for jury duty.

In strode the judge. Medium height and dressed in a suit with no robe. He gave us a 7 minute speech and explained the jury selection process and how long the trial would be. Then he marched out.

His mini speech illustrated three speaking lessons:

1. Dress Up

People do judge a speaker by their dress (pardon the pun). Is a doctor going to have more credibility dressed in a white coat or old jeans? Studies and experience say if you dress up, people tend to give more credibility to what you have to say.

The pros say to dress up one step above the audience. If they are in shirts and ties, wear a suit. Everyone is wearing jeans and a collared shirt? Throw on a sports jacket.

If the judge had come out in an Hawaiian shirt and shorts, his message would not have had near the impact.

 2. Acknowledge what the Audience is Thinking

“I know many of you don’t want to be here.”

“Thanks for giving up your day to do this.”

“This will be a short trial and done today.”

By saying what we were thinking, it helped him connect with us potential jurors.

You can do the same. If the room feels hot, mention it. If you know that there may be an objection to a position you’re taking, say, “You may be thinking ___.” Then answer it.

You’ll connect and better deliver your message.

3. Keep it short

People have short attention spans. Depending on your audience, many don’t want to be there. Short speeches tend to be remembered. Think about the Gettysburg address.

His speech was 7 minutes and then he was done. No extra time to fulfill his ego or put us into a mid morning nap.

Most speeches have too much fluff. Recently we received a package of cleaning supplies from an online website. It was a big box with 1/3 taken up with our supplies. The other 2/3 was taken up by air!

Many  speeches have a lot of air and can be cut down to save everyone some time. Plus, it has more impact.

Don’t eliminate the pauses. Cut out content and sharpen what’s left.

These three lessons helped the judge deliver an effective speech and will help you and I.




Arlen Busenitz

Arlen Busenitz is an experienced speaker with over 650 presentations. He is Author of several books, CD's,and creator of Become a Better Speaker in One Evening™

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