All I Really Need to Know (About Presentations) I Learned in Kindergarten

We’ve been talking a lot about presentations this month and I couldn’t be more excited.  If there is one thing that gives me an adrenalin rush, it is giving a presentation.  Sure, I get nervous sometimes, but I guess the performer in me loves the opportunity to overcome the challenge.

Whether you subscribe to this credo or not, I can trace many of my presentation techniques to lessons learned around age six.  It was at this age that I began participating in gymnastics meets and while they were admittedly not super competitive, we were taught how to assume the “gymnasts’ stance” which, for anyone who has watched one of Mary Carillo’s vignettes during NBC’s broadcast of the Summer Olympic Games knows, is the way little girls walk with toes pointed, shoulders back, and heads held high.  And of course, the smile.  There is always the gymnasts’ smile.

Now, I’m not saying I prance to the front of the room every time I give a presentation and flash my best grin to the audience, but the underlying lesson we were taught as budding adolescent athletes is: if you project your most confident self, the judges will take notice, and that is something I have carried with me every time I stepped in front of the classroom, boardroom, or auditorium.  It is also something I employ every day when I stop by a partner’s office, the secretary’s desk, or on the phone with my colleague.  (Or, recently, when I’m negotiating with my one year old.)

The legal community can be a tough crowd, not only are our lawyers smart and accomplished, but so are all of our legal marketing colleagues.  Whether you are preparing for a meeting with your practice group leader, or getting ready to head out to an LMA social event, remember to project your most confident self.  Believe in yourself and the value you bring and it will be noticed.

And don’t forget to smile! 

By Laurie Paul, President of the LMA Capital Chapter and Senior Business Development Manager at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, for the July/August 2015 issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.

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