Tue, 21 May 2013
Mon, 20 May 2013
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Public speaking on vacation scheme
Good advice from the comments above, and I would emphasise that you need to know your topic very very well, and your presentation should be well-structured. Even if you are a bit shaky, good structure and knowledge will not go unnoticed.
As for your nerves, practise your entire presentation in front of a mirror, to a blank wall, to an empty room etc etc; ensure you are within any time limits, make an effort to speak slowly and clearly, and pause for breath when you need to. Don't breathe quickly/shallowly: take deep breaths, and coupled with a well-paced delivery you should be fine.
It might be hard to apply this advice perfectly the first time round. Don't worry if it is, because:
a) being nervous is a sign that you care
b) making presentations to a room full of lawyers is a skill that you can easily develop
c) if you do make mistakes, you can actually use it to your advantage by citing point b) as an "area for improvement" if they ask you anything along those lines
For example, let's say you're visibly nervous and make one or two points less clearly than you would have liked. There will most likely be an opportunity to talk about that later ("How did you feel the scheme went? What have you learned?" etc). And because presentation skills have nothing to do with understanding the substance of the law, virtually anyone can get better at public speaking with a bit of coaching. The firm probably offers that kind of professional development anyway - it's worth asking and it shows some integrity on your part.
In terms of you chances of the firm wanting to offer you a TC, think of it this way: you've established a "weakness" which can easily be eradicated and/or turned into a strength. So it's not a weakness in the medium or long term - it won't be a liability for the firm. And it's something you can improve in your own time.
So now you have an answer to a common (yet important) interview question in the bag!
One last point: they will base their opinion of your overall performance and suitability for a TC on more than just your public speaking abilities. Always keep that in mind.
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