Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys (Book)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)

Public speaking is a skill that can be learned, just like any other skill such as writing, playing an instrument, a sport or being a chef.

A quick and easy read, this book provides you with basic and advanced techniques, and insider knowledge that you need to improve your presentations, whether in or out of court. Attorneys and non-attorneys alike will find a multitude of techniques that can be used immediately to improve their presentation skills.

It may seem unnecessary to offer legal professionals advice on how to present information in public. But it isn’t. And this book does just that for two reasons.

First, although public speaking is a core skill for anyone in a law firm, there’s a big difference between just speaking and really communicating. If you work in a law firm, you can bet that you’re going to have to talk to a crowd of people sooner or later. Professionals know that being able to speak well in public has a positive impact on a career. Good public speakers are seen as leaders. And the reverse is also true. So why not become the best public speaker you can be?

The second reason is that there’s always room for improvement. The author has spent more than 30 years helping attorneys, CEO’s, non-profit leaders and executives improve their presentation skills. She has run seminars, taken part in oral argument prep and privately coached numerous attorneys – both newcomers and old hands – and they all had one thing in common: They all improved significantly.

Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys consolidates the most helpful and effective tips of the trade in order for you and your staff to become better public speakers. These tools have been time-tested and will help to ensure that both in and out of the courtroom, the reader projects the image and message that you want.

It would be difficult for anyone to implement all of the ideas in this book (or any how-to book), but by trying out a few new ones every time you speak, one speech at a time, and you’ll improve—each time.

Be Heard. This time. Next time. Every time.


If you prefer the kindle version of Faith’s book, you can find it on Amazon at this link. The book is also available through the ABA’s shop page.

For bulk orders for your firm, contact us at (877) 858-3848.

And, if you’d like to see what Faith is teaching in action, or re-inforce what is taught in the book, you can order one of Faith’s professionally recorded DVDs: Presentation Skills for Attorneys or Public Speaking Made Easy (non-attorney version).

Order both the book and one of the DVDs and save 10%. Use coupon PSRocks.



What You Will Learn


Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi

PART ONE The Art of Public Speaking 1
Chapter One Why Work at It? 3
My “Friendly” AMI™ Method
of Public Speaking 4

Chapter Two The Audience Matters 7
Your Audience: Six Questions 7
Seven Audience Types 10
Audience = People 20

Chapter Three Create a Memorable Message 23
Be Brilliant at the Basics 23
Four Types of Speeches (and the One on Which to Concentrate) 24
Different Presentation Methods, Different Results 24
Reviewing the Five Steps to Build
Your Message 43

Chapter Four How You Start, Finish, and Move 45
Why Does Your Introduction Matter? 45
What Should Go into Your Introduction? 46
Delivering a Successful Introduction 59
Catchy Conclusions 61
Effective Transitions 65

Chapter Five Rhetorically Speaking 67
Similes and Metaphors 67
Analogies 68
Rhetorical Questions 68
Alliteration 69
Repetition 70
Antithesis 72


Chapter Six Your Image Does Matter 73
Your Presence Is Doing the Talking 75

Chapter Seven Pitch-Perfect Delivery 81
Eye Contact Means Everything 81
Energy Is Good. Energy Is Great! 83
The Problem with Podiums 84
Gesture Like You Mean It 86
Vocal Dynamics 87
Practice Makes . . . Well, You Know 92
Additional Tools 93
Don’t Leak Your Feelings 94

Chapter Eight Overcoming Your Fear 97
Own Your Fear 97
Sources of Anxiety 98
18(!) Ways to Manage Your Fear 99
Five Ways to Face Your Fear 102
Freedom to Fail 105

Chapter Nine Addressing New Technology 107
PowerPoint—The Devil’s Software Program 107
PowerPoint, Part II: I Can’t Quit You 109
Best Tips for PowerPoint Use and Delivery 111
Creating PowerPoint Slides That Don’t Suck 113
Handouts from Hell 119
Webinars and Teleconferences 121

Chapter Ten Getting Your Audience Involved 123
Q&A about Q&A 123
Opening Up the Floor 124

PART TWO Just for Attorneys 129
Chapter Eleven Oral Argument Is a Dialogue, Not a Monologue 131
Eight Rules from the Bench 131

Chapter Twelve Appellate Oral Argument: A Purposeful Conversation 141
Preparing for Oral Argument 141
Presenting the Argument 143

Chapter Thirteen Opening Statements 147
Opening Statement Theme 147
Opening Statement Strategy 148
Anatomy of an Opening Statement 149
Delivery 150

Chapter Fourteen Effective Closing Arguments: The Law and the Craft 153
The Law 153
The Craft: How and What You Should Argue 154
The Presentation 157
Concluding Counsel 158

Chapter Fifteen Final Notes on Trial Advocacy from Judges 159
Golden Rule #1: Passion Is Your Friend 159
Golden Rule #2: Choose Your Trial Theme Wisely 160
Golden Rule #3: Tell Your Story 161
Golden Rule #4: Use Visual Aids When Possible (but Don’t Overuse Them) 162
Golden Rule #5: Watch the Clock 163
Golden Rule #6: Know the Rules and Be Prepared 164

Chapter Sixteen Working with the Media: Getting the Basics Right and Knowing When to Get Help 165
The Basics: Media Interview Rules 165
When to Get Help 169
And Finally: The One-Minute Media Bible 170

Conclusion 173
Resources 175
About the Author 181
Index 183


Praise for Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys

This terrific book about communication zooms along! It’s chock-full of sound advice and organized so the reader can jump right to the desired topic. It is really two books in one: a segment on public speaking before all types of audiences and a segment for lawyers when speaking in court. Sprinkled throughout is excellent advice from judges and experienced advocates; also included is guidance on talking with reporters. This gem is an essential volume for the advocate.
– Gerald B Cope, Jr., Co-Chair, Appellate Practice, Akerman, LLP; Former Chief Judge, Florida Third District Court of Appeal

I worked with Faith to prepare for my role as President of the California State Bar. Although I thought I was a pretty good public speaker going in, she was immensely helpful, and I use her ideas every time I speak–at trainings, in trial court, to the press, and at appellate argument. She has captured these useful lessons into a book that attorneys can turn to if we do not have the time for one-on-one training.
– Michael G. Colantuono, Esq., California State Bar President, 2017-2018; Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC

The art of public speaking is a “teachable skill”–according to presentations master Faith Pincus. Yes it is. And Faith would know. Her new book, Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys, is a gold mine of practical tips for beginners and veteran public speakers alike. Follow Faith’s AMI Method to connect with any audience. This is a go-to guide for preparing all your courtroom and executive presentations. A must for every professional’s library.
– Harry Chamberlain, Past President, California Defense Counsel; Chair of the Appellate Group at Buchalter

This is a ‘must read’ for any attorney who is serious about improving his or her public speaking skills. Faith has filled this book with practical, realistic advice. A treasure trove for those just learning to speak in public, this book also provides ideas and techniques that even the most experienced speaker will find valuable. I only wish someone could have handed me a copy of it when I first started practicing law.
– James N. Robinson, White & Case LLP

Faith Pincus provides a comprehensive, well-written road map to mastering the art of presentation skills. From researching the audience, to creating the perfect message, to body language and delivery tips, this wide-reaching book gives you everything you need to know to hit it out of the park in terms of both context and content. Although there is an emphasis on public speaking, the wisdom in this book can benefit anyone preparing for any type of speaking engagement, from a speech to your local homeowners’ association to a creative toast at your best friend’s wedding to a hardball interview on national television.
—Wendy L. Patrick, JD, PhD, Prosecutor & Media Commentator

What seems at first glance to be yet another primer on effective communication for the inexperienced proves on a closer read to be an extraordinarily useful tool for the old and skeptical as well. Faith Pincus has created a communication toolbox for all of us who struggle with effective oral presentations either all of the time or only some of the time. And she has done so efficiently and effectively in this short, concise, and clear review of practical approaches and reminders for effective communication in both formal and informal settings, whether preparing for oral argument, speaking at a public meeting, or making a short presentation at a club meeting or other more impromptu setting. Faith has compiled suggestions and checklists many of us have used and all too often forgotten or, if new to the arena, simply need to know and use. I am going to put my copy of this book on my reference shelf right next to The Elements of Style.
—Hon. C. Kenneth Grosse (Retired), Washington State Court of Appeals

I have observed well over a thousand oral arguments in the California Court of Appeal and I can say, if you are a practicing attorney, read this book. In clear, conversational, and gripping fashion, Faith Pincus demonstrates that presentation skills is indeed an art. How do you cultivate a likeable, confident presence? Which are the most effective methods of delivery? What tools work best for persuasion? What techniques can be used to manage your fears? Pincus answers all these questions and many more. All attorneys, from the uninitiated to the journeyman to the superstar, will benefit from the knowledge and insight Pincus has developed during the past thirty years as a former attorney and presentation skills trainer helping lawyers, CEOs, and executives improve their presentation skills.
—Pablo Drobny, Lead Appellate Court Attorney (Retired 2018), California Court of Appeal

Faith Pincus, simply put, is both an exceptional speaker and an exceptional writer. She has personally been my coach and mentor for presentation skills and it has been a life-changer! Her book, Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys, is a must-read.
—Joseph E. Ankus, Esq., President/Founder, Ankus Consulting, Inc.

After having the opportunity to preview this book, I was really impressed! This is much more than just another “how-to-do-it” book. There is a wealth of practical information and guidance presented in an easy to locate and easy to read format. It is a compilation of actual experiences of the author and other contributors that sets out how to make presentations that are effective with the audience and enjoyable for the presenter. I wish that the information in the book had been so readily available when I found myself first addressing gatherings, rather than learning through experience.
—Hon. Gilbert (Thad) Gembacz, United States Immigration Judge (Retired)

This is the book I wish existed when I was a young prosecutor and during my thirty one-plus years as a Senior Writ Attorney at the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco doing CLE presentations. Faith brings her own expertise and experience, as well as that of her many contacts, to create a book that is witty, an easy read, and a bible for any public speaker. It’s one I’ll now always keep at hand for reference.
—Susan Horst, Of Counsel, California Appellate Law Group, Former Career Senior Writ Attorney, California Court of Appeal

Faith’s book, Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys, is, quite simply, empowering. It takes the anxiety out of the picture. Faith’s method is foolproof. She explains what to do, it makes sense, and then you feel empowered to do it. It’s a great handbook on presentation skills and it’s a terrific, quick read.
—Lisa Peña, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Treasury Department

Finally, a book with the practical advice and strategies to improve presentation skills! As a public interest environmental attorney, presentation skills is a critical advocacy tool but one that I was never taught or felt particularly confident in. Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys gave me the tools I needed to refine how I prepare and deliver presentations and helped me up my game. There are so many useful tips in here, I continue to go back to it. A must for beginners and more seasoned speakers alike.
—Matt Vespa, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice

Faith’s book reads like a conversation with her: fast, engaging, and certain to leave you with at least a few new ideas you will be eager to apply. After years spent observing trials in a busy federal court, those that still stand out are the very few cases in which the attorney compelled the jurors’ or the judge’s attention not by volume or drama, but by the clarity, relevancy, simplicity, and strength of their presentation. Faith’s book has the tools you will need to make sure that whether you are in a courtroom, a boardroom, or at a meeting anywhere in the world, your words will be heard.
—Barbara Barbara Junge, Esq., Federal civil rights attorney, former civil AUSA and former career law clerk for the late Honorable William M. Hoeveler, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida

I am thrilled that Faith Pincus’s knowledge and wisdom now exists in this comprehensive publication. The attorneys I work with clamor to attend Faith’s in-person program each year—and for good reason, as this book demonstrates. Faith expertly and succinctly covers the practicalities of presentation skills—from organization to the impression you leave on your audience. She also addresses the concerns and roadblocks public speakers face and how to best practice and prepare to avoid them. Beginners and experienced public speakers alike will find something new to take away from this book every time they read it—and every time they prepare to speak. I know I do.
—Angela Inzano, The Chicago Bar Foundation

Faith has written a fun, thoughtful, and most helpful book for anyone who speaks—or needs to speak—in public. The sections for lawyers are full of good advice, and lawyers and others will also benefit greatly from the other public-speaking and media-handling advice she offers. These are truly words from the wise!
—Ken Masters, Masters Law Group

Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys is a must-read for attorneys of all experience levels. Full of sound, practical advice from start to finish, it will put new attorneys years ahead of their colleagues, and even the most seasoned trial attorneys will pick up valuable pointers and understand in a new light lessons already learned.
—Damian Capozzola, Esq., The Law Offices of Damian D. Capozzola, Los Angeles, CA

Presentation skills is something that everybody in law or business has to do. Doing it well is essential to success, but nobody ever teaches you how to do it. Until now. Faith Pincus breaks down the art of successful presentation skills into bite-size chunks. She’ll help you analyze your audience, prepare your message, and deliver your talk. She identifies all the common mistakes speakers make and warns you away from them, especially including misuse of PowerPoint. Her best tip: Enthusiasm on the part of the speaker really counts! And if you actually aren’t so enthusiastic, fake it.
—Michael Asimow, Visiting Professor, Stanford Law School; Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

Law school teaches students how to “think like a lawyer.” Law school does not teach students how to speak. The result is that we can take either side of an argument; and we may be effective in a written brief. But, most of our activities are outside the written arena. Our oral skills most often determine how we’re seen as leaders, how we attract and keep new clients, and whether we’re successful in court, both before the judge and before jurors. In this book, Faith Pincus helps you prepare your message, organize your thoughts, and present your speech. Having made many presentations over the years, I found Faith’s work engaging and well worth the reading and rereading. And if you’re beginning your career, take serious note. Keep her book by your side when you begin thinking about accepting an
engagement to present.
—Ed Poll, JD, MBA, CMC, LawBiz® Management


Faith Pincus, Esq.
Pincus Communications, Inc.

Faith Pincus is an accomplished and experienced speaker who will boost your self-confidence and give you the tools you need to succeed at public speaking. Faith has trained CEO’s, attorneys, elected and appointed officials, candidates, and management at non-profit associations for more than two decades.

As a licensed attorney and former Federal Law Clerk she is also uniquely positioned to understand the speaking skills required of attorneys.

Faith has an innate ability to see what works in the public speaking context. She has an unbridled passion for public speaking and for helping people become better communicators. Faith is an expert in the art of persuasion and an accomplished speechwriter.

Her book, tentatively titled “Be Heard: Public Speaking for Attorneys,” will be published by the American Bar Association soon and multiple DVDs related to public speaking skills are currently available online.

Prior to opening Pincus Communications, Inc. and Pincus Professional Education, Faith ran more than 25 political campaigns, including campaigns for congress, the California state assembly and senate, and various mayoral, city council and county supervisor races throughout California. When she was a political consultant, Faith created public affairs campaigns for a variety of industries, corporations and associations.

It was here that Faith first acquired her passion for helping people become public speakers, as she wrote speeches and trained candidates in speaking skills.

Faith previously taught communication courses at the university level, including rhetoric (persuasion), public speaking, and interpersonal and small group communication. She has published a variety of articles on communication and persuasion, including an analysis of major war announcement speeches.

Faith has a Masters in Communication from the California State University at Fresno and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa. She is a former Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Oliver W. Wanger of the United States District Court, Eastern District of California and a Member of the Order of the Coif. Ms. Pincus litigated for one of the top AmLaw 20 law firms before creating Pincus Communications, Inc. and Pincus Professional Education.

Be sure to check out Faith’s blog at and like her at


Paperback Book: Regularly $39.95

Pincus Pro Ed Price $34.95 including shipping, and, in CA, sales tax.

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Paperback Book | Published 2018 by the American Bar Association