31 03 2012


Ben Stein was kind enough to pause before dashing –

So yesterday was Day 2 at Techshow in Chicago. It was fun and the highlight had to be Ben Stein’s inspiring speech about access to law and the general state of economics in the USA. There were many other messages and lots of shout outs to Canadians in general but I wanted to comment about another message that wasn’t necessarily meant to be there but seeped through to me anyway – if you’re a litigator, learn to be a dynamic public speaker.

He was engaging, told a few jokes, was self-deprecating and knew his audience. He had everyone leaning forward in their seats and it made me think how could go much smoother if you had a Judge and jury leaning toward you in spite of your message. He had notes but he was smooth – he read them over before he spoke, made the odd annotation, and sipped a Starbucks tea while he spoke, occasionally saying “Oh, this is very good” but it was hard to tell if he was speaking to us, or reminding himself that it was going very well, or possibly that it was just really great tea.

Ben had the audience (mostly lawyers/attorneys from Canada and the US) in the palm of his hand. I was reminded of listening to my Dad because of the easy delivery and someone familiar way in which he spoke. It was poetry.

After his talk he was very gracious, stopped for photos with people, made a point of asking people where they were from, and was infinitely patient with people as he was lined up for another photo…for many minutes. He seemed genuinely interested in each person who spoke to him and was a pleasure to speak with one on one.

He stopped for a moment before he made his getaway, made sure I had the shots I wanted and then just before he stepped into a waiting limo asked the driver his name. . .civility is alive and well in Chicago and his stopping along the way to speak with some tech-savvy lawyers was a highlight for me and reminded me its time to pay more attention to detail when addressing an audience and to engage the group as a whole….win them one by one.





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