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Speak Up to Advance Your Career, Get Better Law School Grades

That’s something they don’t teach in law school, but they should.

I was sitting in TWO different classes today, and I couldn’t hear what other students were saying in response to questions from the professor. I don’t have the best hearing, but I guarantee that these people were mumbling under the breath, staring down at their desks or buried in their books. Apparently the professor heard them, but I don’t see how all the students in the room could.

So what’s the point? Project your voice. This doesn’t mean that you always speak in the same volume. To the contrary, it means that you always ensure that everyone who needs to hear you actually can. Projecting is to speak with a confident, full voice, talking to the person who is furthest away from you.

I can understand that being called upon in class is sometimes a frightful experience. It’s tough to respond under the gun like that. But if you speak with a clear, confident voice, you will at least appear to know what you’re talking about.

Musicians have a rule that if you play during a rest (where you shouldn’t play), make it the best, nicest sounding note you possibly can. Why? The audience will likely not know that you screwed up. That same rule applies to many things in life, especially speaking.

And yes, projecting your voice will help advance your career and improve your grades. If you exude confidence, you will do better in interviews and jobs. If you speak up in class, you will likely learn more and be more in tune with the professor.

What are you going to do next time you’re talking to someone? Project!!

[tags]legal andrew, speaking, voice, project, public speaking[/tags]

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3 Responses to “Speak Up to Advance Your Career, Get Better Law School Grades”

  1. Christopher Johnston
    January 26th, 2007

    You make a great point. Too many people today speak to low to be heard or too loud when you don’t want to hear them (like when they are next to you on their cell phone). I was fortunate to take a public speaking class in college and it was one of the best investments of my time and money. I do believe that along with legal writing, public speaking should be taught as a 1L course.

  2. Andrew Flusche
    January 26th, 2007


    I appreciate your point very much about speaking too loud when people shouldn’t. Voice volume is definitely a constant balancing act that many people (including myself0 have trouble getting right.

    A public speaking class is a great idea. Our law school actually has a class entitled “Oral Presentations Outside the Courtroom.” It’s a great course for everyone to take, since it really just focuses on the basics of public speaking, whether it’s at a meeting, an interview, a conference, or even a courtroom. Basic voice and speech techniques still apply.

    Thanks for the comment,

  3. Martin Ng
    February 11th, 2009

    I have a naturally soft voice, and whenever I try to project I sound angry, like I’m shouting ;-)

    Luckily most of my public speaking gigs give you microphones…

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