Are you wanting to understand Moot Court better? Ethan Tong is the guy! In two weeks, Lasting Impact! will host an Online Workshop specifically for Mooters! Sign up NOW! Online Moot Court Workshop – Lasting Impact! This workshop will be recorded! And in the meantime, read Ethan’s tip about Moot…
Every Moot Court competitor knows the following scenario: you go up, prepared to answer the toughest questions and objections, only to hear crickets from the bench. Maybe a question or two––maybe none. We blame it on the bench—“Ugh, it was a cold bench this morning” or “the judges were not asking us anything”––when we should be blaming it on ourselves. Because it’s YOUR JOB to invite questions…
Many of us have gotten comments telling us to speak slower in some debate round or another, mostly to our chagrin. But while speaking fast oftentimes comes back to bite us, we also know some very fast-talking debaters who are extremely successful. In debate, it seems, speed does not necessarily equate to a lack of success.
I’d like to suggest that Moot Court is much different. Now, you’ve probably heard about how speaking slower makes you seem more credible and serious (which, of course, is a good thing in Moot Court). But there is one important benefit beyond the ethos-boost: inviting questions.
Moot Court is all about questions. No one likes giving a whole 10 minute respondent speech only to receive one question. No––we prepare for questions, so that we have a chance to show off our knowledge. And when you speak fast, you disincentivize judges from asking questions. I could speak from a logical perspective (talking slower gives the judge more time to process what you’re saying) from a rhetoric perspective (talking slower makes the judge believe you’re reasonable and likely to respond to their questions) or a personal perspective (I find it harder to interrupt people who are speaking quickly). But whatever the reason––ask any judge and they will say they are more likely to ask you questions when you speak slower.
Most of us know that speaking slowly is better than speaking quicker, but few of us are willing to put in the work to implement it. Here’s my suggestion: practice giving your speech, on script, and mark the part in the script when you hit three minutes. Then, mark a part in your script one or two paragraphs higher than the original mark, and set the timer for three minutes again. Try to not pass the new mark before the timer rings. This will force you to slow down, pausing between sentences and during important parts of your phrases.
That’s one of many ways you can practice speaking slower. If you master the art of speaking slower, you’ll invite more questions, which will not only make the experience of Moot Court more enjoyable, but also improve your scores.
We’ll be exploring how to improve your speaking and your cases at the February 10th Moot Court workshop––you don’t want to miss it!
Join Ethan in two weeks for teaching and online discussion – All About Moot Court!! Online Moot Court Workshop – Lasting Impact! If LD is more your style, we also have a second semester LD Club with Noah McKay coming up- CHECK IT OUT!!