When someone tells you dating a lawyer is just like dating anyone else, they are lying! This might be too straightforward for you, but after dating a lawyer for a year and a half, I know that lies have no room between you and your legal expert. Because they are so used to people who tell hundreds of lies, lawyers are able to sniff a lie from a mile, so there is no point in trying to hide something from them. On the other hand, you will notice how objective and sincere a lawyer is in a relationship.
Lawyers are stubborn and they are used to finding arguments in everything – and this is just the start of it all. Here are the main things you need to know before diving into a relationship with a lawyer.
1. Lawyers think differently.
This is the starting point: lawyers and law students think completely different from the rest of us. They are trained to think differently from the first day they decide to become a successful lawyer, so you will have to get used to this. Lawyers can be highly objective in the most subjective situations, which is a double-edged sword. In critical situations, this is an advantage, which enables your date to act quickly and correctly.
But in love… it’s another thing. Because they are used to being objective, lawyers might be cold and lack affection sometimes, but this doesn’t mean your date doesn’t like you. It’s just he/she is very objective about it.
2. Legal field is filled with parties.
Dating a lawyer? You must have a killer party wardrobe because lawyers attend a lot of events and most of these are high class. Prepare to meet people from Congress, politicians, celebrities, and many more public personalities at these parties. Despite what most people think, lawyer gatherings are never boring, so you will have a lot of fun!
Another thing you need to know about lawyers is they get over-excited over free-time plans, simply because they have so little free time.
3. You will be alone a lot.
Dating a lawyer sometimes feels like dating a ghost because they work a lot. A whole lot! You will often find yourself alone while your lawyer friend is at the office preparing a case. If you are the kind of person who likes to go out at 6 PM in the evening, you will be disappointed, because lawyers often work late hours. You will probably find yourself first going out on the town around 9 or 10pm.
Another thing you have to get used to when dating a lawyer is cancellations: don’t be surprised if your date cancels all your plans because he or she needs to go through a massive pile of books and laws, in order to build the case they are working on. Of course, this is one of the main reasons law is among the most swiped professions on Tinder.
4. You will learn legalese.
One of the perks of dating a lawyer is you will learn legalese. This is also valid if you are dating a law student, who is going to practice his/her speeches around the house, forcing you to hear those legal terms over and over again. The next time you are confronted with reading a contract, you will notice you understand it a lot better, which is a huge advantage.
5. You will never pay full price again.
Lawyers are great at negotiating, which means you will never have to pay full price again. For anything! Your date is always going to make use of the proverbial lawyer charm and get some freebies or discounts. If you pay enough attention to them, you will also be able to negotiate next time you go shopping. But lawyers use their charm for a good reason…
6. Lawyers have a huge student debt.
Lawyers not only practice their skills for work when they negotiate, but also to make their life easier because they can’t afford too many things in the first few years of practice. This is due to the huge student loan debt a lawyer has, and he or she is forced to use all their skills to make a living so they can manage to repair their debt.
7. You will never win another argument again.
Lawyers argue for a living, so there is no way they are going to lose back home, on their own “field”. Also, if you propose white, they will instinctively reject it and propose black instead. They can’t help it, so don’t be mad about it.
8. Lawyers love commitment.
This one is big: lawyers love hard facts both in work and love, so they want to be in a solid relationship. They love to be clear about their dating status and will want to have their significant other write on the calendar when their anniversary is. As a rule of thumb, keep things as clear and solid as possible in all areas of your relationship.
9. Your friends will look up to you for dating a lawyer.
As strange as it sounds, no one will ever look at you the same again after hearing you are dating a lawyer. I don’t know why this happens, but it does happen. My friends are now a lot more polite (not that they weren’t before) and their entire attitude towards me has changed. They somehow make me feel like a celebrity since I started dating my lawyer.
Bottom line, there are pros and cons to dating a lawyer, but it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the trouble. Or you could leave it to the jury. :)
You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.
Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:
1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically
According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.
“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor
Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:
If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.
If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.
Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:
Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.
Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.
To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.
Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.
Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.
Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.
Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.
Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:
2. Focus on your goal
One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.
Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’
Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.
Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.
If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.
3. Convert negativity to positivity
There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?
‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’
It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.
Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”
Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.
Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:
4. Understand your content
Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.
However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.
“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor
Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.
Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.
One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.
5. Practice makes perfect
Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.
In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.
Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!
6. Be authentic
There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.
Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.
Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.
To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.
With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.
Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:
7. Post speech evaluation
Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.
Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation
We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.
You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.
Improve your next speech
As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:
How did I do?
Are there any areas for improvement?
Did I sound or look stressed?
Did I stumble on my words? Why?
Was I saying “um” too often?
How was the flow of the speech?
Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.
If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too: