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How Training With English Speaking Board Has Helped My Career in Law

A vital skill for anyone working in the legal sector is the ability to communicate well.

This extends not only to communication with clients, but also prospective clients, business contacts and colleagues in your own firm.

This may all sound blindingly obvious.  However, if things go sour between lawyers and their clients or even between lawyers within the same team, it is surprising just how often it results from a lack of effective communication.

I am fortunate, therefore, that during my school career, I was given some really great communication training by English Speaking Board (ESB).

I learnt how to prepare informative time limited talks and present without the need to depend on a script. I learnt how to speak clearly, avoid verbosity, appear confident and how to deal “on the spot” with questions.

These are all skills that I daily depend on. 

I am not a litigator. So I do not have to present clients’ cases in court.  However, I do regularly have to give talks in public to prospective clients. I often have to appear on the radio at short notice to give an off the cuff comment about a legal development. Likewise, I treat every client meeting as a situation where verbal advocacy skills are paramount. 

In short, there is little that I do on a daily basis that is not influenced by skills developed through ESB.

For instance, I dictate most of my written reports and correspondence. I would find it cripplingly time consuming to have to type these instead. However, dictation is a skill that can take time to develop. It relies on confidence in your own ability to channel thoughts and arguments quickly, logically and clearly.  ESB has been key in establishing this confidence.

This is invaluable in this particular instance.  I am right up to my deadline for completing this article.  Had I been ahead of the game and had there been no Revenue deadlines looming, I might have typed up this piece!  Fortunately, I am privileged to have an assistant, Vanessa, who will type up my words once I have dictated them. 

As my managing partner may very well remind me in my imminent appraisal, that brings us full circle to the next crucial skill for any good lawyer operating in the 21st  Century: time management…….