Kelly Street was joined this week by lawyer Erin Gerstenzang, a trial attorney with a law practice in Atlanta, Georgia. She provides concierge-level service to clients facing drug and alcohol-related offenses. In addition to running her boutique criminal defense law practice in Atlanta, Georgia, Erin Gerstenzang is dedicated to helping other attorneys succeed in their practices. She is a regular speaker at CLE events across the country and helps lawyers understand legal ethics in a technology-enabled world. She also lectures on women mentoring women, design-thinking for law firms, and using social media to build a legal brand.
Takeaways from the episode: Practice, just try it, and provide value.
Erin Gerstanzang has been public speaking since before she had a trial and has legal in her blood as a second generation lawyer in a family full of lawyers.
Speaking has allowed Erin to introduce herself to new attorneys, gaining referrals and making a national name for herself and her firm. Erin speaks about everything from blood testing and criminal defense issues to women and diversity in the legal practice. Her perspective on public speaking is that it is a reputation builder. You can showcase expertise, being helpful, and teaching other attorneys to do their job better.
Erin gained traction in legal speaking by discussing legal ethics and has focused recently on social media, including in her talk at Clio 2018 with Kim Bennett.
Erin’s Speaking Tips
- Don’t be boring.
- Present real tips, information, and advice.
- Less is more for your slides- your slides shouldn’t be your presentation.
- Don’t present sitting down. It’s weird.
- Show your personality in speaking and in lawyering.
- Refer to yourself 2-3 times during your presentation, (listen to hear why)
Erin on Branding Your Practice
- Step outside the lawyer box.
- You’ll attract the kind of clients you want if you can create a strong brand.
Improving Your Public Speaking
- Get comfortable on the stage by filming your talks and watching them to identify your crutches and fine-tune your talks.
- Creative Live – public speaking courses
- Vanessa Van Edwards – hand gestures
- Ted Talks – speakers show their hands
- Start off with an embarrassing story to create a connection with the audience, instead of wasting time thanking the audience. The first 30 seconds are vital to your talk.
- Great images for free: Unsplash.com
- Record your speaking but remember that watching yourself speak requires an act of kindness. Watch with the understanding that you will develop a tough skin and get better over time.
Do lawyers only want to hear from lawyers? Kelly says yes, Erin says no. The legal world has a lot of learning and growth to do but is making strides to be open to non-legal experts for noon-legal topics.
Then Erin shares her thoughts on paying for speakers- to get quality content, legal organizations should consider paying for speakers. You get A-Level speakers when you are willing to pay for it.
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