The Florida Bar

Florida Bar Journal

Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys

Book Reviews

Image of Being Heard book coverFaith Pincus is a familiar name to many Florida lawyers because of her continuing legal education company, Pincus Professional Education, which offers CLE seminars in Florida and other states.

Her book, Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys, was recently published by the American Bar Association. She speaks from experience, including 25 years training attorneys, executives, and politicians to become more powerful and persuasive speakers. She began her legal career as a federal law clerk and tried cases for a major California law firm. She also ran 25 political campaigns before starting her CLE business.

Before reading her book, I heard Faith Pincus on a podcast interview, so I know the sound of her voice. I am able to say that her writing style is just as natural and easy to follow as her speaking voice. She is clear, direct, and friendly. Most importantly, from the perspective of her readers, she is a storyteller. And all of her stories are relevant to the specific information she gives about the numerous finer points of creating and delivering effective presentations.

Besides employing her ability to write in a conversational tone, Pincus has organized her book in a logical format with two main parts. Part I is general information for anyone, lawyer or not, who wants to give more effective presentations. The main areas of part I are about audience analysis, message building, delivery skills, technology, and audience interaction. In other words, she starts at square one, making sure you know everything you need to know about the audience you are addressing, and takes you all the way to the conclusion, when you engage in Q&A with listeners.

Part II is just for lawyers. It’s not only interesting and informative, but Pincus uses her personal experience to make the text come alive. She knows what justices and judges expect from attorneys in their courtrooms, and she backs up her comments with numerous specific accounts about trial advocacy, communicating successfully with juries, and secrets for better opening statements and closing arguments. Although part II is mainly concerned with trial and appellate practice, Pincus broadens the scope of her advice to include media appearances and other occasions when lawyers are required to speak to the press or to general audiences.

If I were asked to give a single word that best describes the author and her treatment of this unique subject matter, I would have to choose from several words that immediately come to mind: Faith Pincus is authentic, articulate, practical, passionate, knowledgeable, and no-nonsense. She gets right to the point from page one all the way through. In our profession, the ability to speak well is often the key ingredient that changes one’s performance from good to great. I would recommend this book to any practicing attorney who wants to become a better speaker and presenter.

Tom Kirby is a member of the Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law Section of The Florida Bar and the Intellectual Property Section of the ABA.