Sunday, August 27, 2017

What Trumpenstein can teach law students about effective oral advocacy

When it comes to the spring semester oral arguments that nearly all 1L students complete as part of their first year LRW course, I always tell them that a key aspect of oral persuasion is that they need to believe the arguments they're making to the court. It's not enough to merely go through the motions, you have to communicate with your voice and body language that you thoroughly, passionately believe in the righteousness of your position. In short, if you want to be believed, you need to believe it yourself. 

This short video (below) published by the New York Times compares several examples of President Trumpenstein's speaking style when he's reading from a teleprompter versus making extemporaneous comments. You tell me - which versions sound like he's reading a hostage statement under duress versus speaking in a manner that reveals his true feelings and thoughts?  This might make a good in-class video that illustrates for students how a speaking style that lacks passion and authenticity undercuts the credibility of the underlying message. Which versions do you believe? 


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