An audience’s expectations about a lawyer/speaker combines what they know about that particular lawyer, what they have learned about other lawyers, and what they think of lawyers as a group. There appear to be some prevailing predispositions that American audiences have about lawyers. They are not necessarily true, but they seem to be widely held. The following seem to among the public perceptions and expectations of lawyers.
- Lawyers are polished, if not eloquent, public speakers.
- Lawyers are skillful in their ability to use language.
- Lawyers are smart and well-educated.
- Lawyers are masters of persuading others to do what they want them to do.
- Lawyers must appear committed to ideas and causes they may not believe in.
- Lawyers engage in a good deal of misdirection and disguised deception.
- Lawyers, for the most part, are financially successful and part of political and social elites.
These may or may not be the perceptions that a particular audience brings to your presentation. But, a wise speaker will determine any predispositions an audience does have and account for them when preparing a presentation.