I was sitting in the barber chair and looked over and Tina Turner was on the cover of People Magazine. In the magazine was an excerpt from her autobiography that was recently published. Being a huge fan, I had to read the excerpt which was a bit challenging while my hair was being cut.

Reading reminded me of how Tina Turner influenced my presentations when I practiced law.

After I made a presentation at an ABA YLD meeting a young lawyer came up to me and asked how I learned to make presentations? I responded that Tina Turner had taught me all I needed to learn.

It was 1971, I was in my last year in law school when Nancy and I and two other couples sat in the second row to watch The Ike and Tina Turner Revue.

First, Ike and the band came out, then the Ikettes came out and sang.

Then the announcer, in a very deep voice said:

“Let’s welcome the star of the show, the hardest working girl in show biz…Ladies and Gentlemen: Tina Turner.”

Tina was unbelievable. She had the entire audience clapping and singing along to “I Want to Take You Higher.” I don’t remember many of the songs in the middle of the concert, but as it was reaching the end, she sang: “Proud Mary.”

When she finished the crowd was standing and asking to hear more from Tina. Here is a video clip from the 1971 concert tour with Tina Singing “Proud Mary.”

Fast forward to 2000. Tina Turner is live at Wembley Stadium in London. Her opening song: “I Want to Take You Higher.”

Like the concert in 1971, Tina came to the end of the Wembley Stadium concert and sang “Proud Mary.” Once again the audience clamored for more.

Other than my enjoyment of Tina Turner in concert, what is the point for you?

I suggest you take a lesson from Tina Turner when you are giving a presentation.

Start strong and end strong. You have about 90 seconds for the audience to answer the question: “What’s in this for me?” Do not end your presentation with: “Are there any questions?” Instead, as you are approaching the end, say: “Before I conclude are there any questions?” Then, conclude powerfully with a call to action.

In an interview author and expert, Nick Morgan said:

“The last thing you do with an audience is the most important and what they will remember the best. Q&A is open-ended and not in your control. A great speech can be undermined by a hostile or stupid question at the end. So save the last three minutes for a knock-them-dead wrap up that sends the audience on its way with jaws agape.”

Clearly when Tina Turner ends a concert with “Proud Mary” she knocks-them-dead and has the audience wanting to hear more. If you open strong and close strong your audience will want to hear more, and maybe they will even want to hire you.

Big wheel keeps on turning…

What is the this you really need to do? Let them practice the following and shoot video and then critique.

  • The first and last two minutes of a presentation.
  • A mock meeting with a potential client.
  • A mock pitch to a client.
  • You might even video a mock networking event.

Why do you REALLY need to do this? Your lawyers need to:

  • See their body language.
  • See their facial expression, what they do with their hands, whether they stand and sit straight. I can go on, but you get the idea.
  • See their energy level.
  • Help them become less fearful and nervous by practicing.

You may want to start with having your young lawyers watch this Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy Ted Video:

For several years, I worked with a large firm on an associate retreat. A firm partner and I (mostly the firm partner) created a fictitious client and factual situation. At the retreat the associates were divided into four pitch teams. During the day they prepared a presentation for the fictitious client and in the evening they socialized with each other.

In the morning of the second day each team made its presentation to a mock client team. Video was shot of each presentation. During lunch, I worked with the professional videographer to make clips of the parts of each presentation that were well done. Then, after lunch the entire group talked about the clips.

It was great fun for me and I am confident the lawyers found the experience valuable.

I am stilling trying to get warm after sitting outside last night watching Virginia Tech play North Carolina. Even with hand and foot warmers, I was shaking cold. If you happened to watch the game on ESPN, you likely learned just how cold it was.

I can remember when very few college football games were televised. I always felt in those days that the players reacted differently because they knew they were on camera. I think the same is true of lawyers who are on camera for trials.

As you likely know I have Apple computers. A few years ago I shot video from the camera on my iMac and I thought I looked like a deer (with short hair)  in headlights. I still feel uncomfortable looking at the video.

After learning the cost to shoot video in a studio, I purchased an HD camera and shot video again. I discovered the lighting wasn’t good enough so I purchased two umbrella lights. Then, I wasn’t satisfied with the microphone so I purchased a professional microphone.

Call me a perfectionist, but I am still not 100% satisfied. Here is a link to one of the videos:

Why does this matter to you? I believe everyone agrees that video will play an increasingly important role in legal marketing and client development. I urge you to start practicing in front of a camera with no audience.

I know actors speak to a camera, but acting is different. I always use President Reagan and President Clinton as an examples of speakers comfortable speaking to directly to a camera. Both Presidents had a magic way of making their television audience feel like they were speaking directly to each person.

If you believe Bill Clinton and Ronald Regan were naturally gifted, read:What Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and You Have in Common Hint: It’s Not Natural Ability and then find a video clip of Bill Clinton’s nomination speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention. It was not his finest moment. He was so bad that when he appeared on the Johnny Carson show a week later, Johnny introduced him mimicking his speech at the convention. I still laugh when I listen to Johnny Carson at his best: Introducing Clinton

Like President Reagan and President Clinton, it takes a lot of work to be a gifted communicator. Time to get a camera and start practicing. You will need this skill sooner rather than later.



When you are asked to speak to an industry group you have one of the greatest opportunities to market yourself and also one of the greatest challenges. You have the opportunity to show your knowledge and to build rapport. You have the challenge of speaking to a skeptical audience. No matter what the industry, your audience did not likely wake up and say: “Oh boy, I get to listen to a lawyer this morning.”

As most, if not all of you, know when I practiced law my “niche” was construction law, and more specifically transportation construction law. The first time I gave a presentation to contractor members of the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association was 1986. The last time I spoke to the group was on February 28, 2007 at the annual Construction Conference. When I searched today, I discovered that my PowerPoint slides are still on-line from that presentation.

This Friday I will be speaking on social media to the very same group of contractors. Click here to read how my presentation is described. I know in advance that it is unlikely the contractors in the room will come to hear me because they think social media will be valuable for their company. Most will think that social media is for their children, college aged kids and maybe some young employees who work for their companies. Others will think social media could be used by businesses who market themselves, but is of little value to contractors who are awarded contracts based on submitting the low bid.

I will have 90 seconds to convince a group of very skeptical contractors that they should listen to me for the next hour. I have given more thought to what I say in those 90 seconds than I have what I will say in the 58 minutes and 30 seconds that follow. I do not want to share with you how I will use that time. Instead, i would like for you to think how you would use the time. If you come up with a great idea, feel free to post a comment or send me an email. Then, think about how you will use those 90 seconds the next time you have the opportunity to speak to your target market.

This week I have been reading about motivation, blogging and marketing more generally. Here is what I have been reading:

It won’t take you any time to read any of these posts. I hope you find something helpful. If you do post a comment. Have a great weekend.