One of the most important skills as a lawyer is being able to communicate effectively – you may know all about the law, but if you can’t explain it in a way that helps your client understand then it’s of no use to anyone! Geldards understands just how vital this is and have put in place a training programme designed to help its trainee solicitors to develop their skills in an encouraging and nurturing environment.
My first experience of the training programme was very early on in the training contract and involved one of the Partners teaching us the basic ‘dos and don’ts’ of public speaking. The session was very relaxed and allowed us the opportunity to ask any questions we had about style and technique from a seasoned professional. At the end of the session, we were given our first task: deliver a 12-15-minute presentation on a non-legal topic of our choice to a room full of Partners. I must admit, I did feel a sense of trepidation as I left the room thinking of a suitable topic to speak about!
My first degree was in chemistry so I thought the audience may find it interesting to hear about a topic to do with science. However, I was conscious not to turn the presentation into a chemistry lesson (our training had emphasised that it’s important for presentations to be engaging!) so I tried to make it as fun and appealing as possible by talking about the chemistry of chocolate. We were taught that one of the most important things to do as part of our preparation is to practice, practice, practice. It may sound obvious but it really is key to a good presentation.
When it came to actually giving the presentation I did my best to employ most of the skills I had been taught during our initial training session, however it is only when you give the presentation itself do you really learn and develop. At the end of the presentation the Partners are invited to give their comments on how they thought it went and give you tips on how to improve for next time. This might sound pretty daunting, but I can honestly say that I found the feedback extremely useful. The Partners are very experienced at giving presentations and they are there to help bring out the very best in you. The presentation is also filmed, so you can watch yourself back and learn from your performance – it also makes for great Christmas viewing with the family!
During your training contract you will have the opportunity to present on three separate occasions as part of the presentation training programme. The second presentation is a legal topic and the third involves a tender pitch as part of a group. I have found the presentation skills training at Geldards to be a very rewarding experience and it has certainly helped me to become a better public speaker.
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