Tulsa Lawyer Magazine August 2016

Page 22

Slowing Down By Shane Henry and Aaron Bundy, TCBA Litigtion Law Section Co-chairs

Trial gives us all an adrenaline too quickly, our audience may have

rush. Trial lawyers feel anxiety and pressure when it’s our turn to speak. Our audience includes not only jurors, but court staff, our staff and client, and the opposing party and his lawyers. The combined effects of adrenaline, anxiety and pressure cause us to lose all sense of time. One result is that we may not have an accurate sense of how fast or slow we are speaking. During trial, we often feel pressure to fill silence. If we are not comfortable with silence, we may try to fill the air with sound and speak too quickly, or we may revert to filler words such as “and” or “um.” When we speak

20 Tulsa Lawyer

trouble understanding the message. Filler words are distracting and make it more difficult for the factfinder to comprehend the information being presented. Silence alllows time for processing information, and deliberate silence can help us emphasize an important point. There are several techniques to deal with speaking too quickly. The first step is recognizing the factors (adrenaline, anxiety, pressure) causing the problem. As we begin speaking, our first words set the pace for the rest of what we have to say. If we take care to use our first words to consciously set a


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