As an arbitrator, I was always impressed with the experienced, short-spoken attorneys who made their point in a few seconds rather than the insecure young lawyers who spoke like they were paid by the word. When in court, use the KISS method – keep it short stupid!
It takes more effort to think carefully about a topic, organize your thoughts, and speak efficiently than it does just to ramble on and on without focus and organization. Remember judges, especially family court judges, are swamped. You’ll score points by being brief.
The way to keep your statements short is to write out what you want to say first and review it afterwards. For each sentence you want to include, ask yourself “does this help me win, and how?” If you can’t answer that question, they you don’t need it. Take it out.
When you have a court case open, have an elevator pitch. You must be able to summarize your case in 17 seconds before the listener gets off an elevator ride with you.
It’s important you have a brief pitch for the opening statement and closing argument. You can use the same phrases for the intro and conclusion for a memo, or a quick summary for a settlement conference officer. Think of it as a brief few lines of information that you give to a friend who asks, “what’s your case about?” They don’t want you to talk their ear off; they want the short version, but it has the have the substance of what’s going on. It’s not easy to do, but it’s great to have. If you have something longer than 20-30 seconds, chop it up and leave it to the bare minimum words. Then practice, modify, and revise until you feel comfortable giving it to a family member or friend.
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