Jo Sidhu QC
In this episode, Jo Sidhu QC discusses the soft skills of advocacy, including aspects such as breathing, projection and controlling the mind to eliminate distractions and extraneous material.
- Every advocate must go through the early stages of learning and making mistakes.
- It is important we take a formulaic approach to teaching advocacy, but we must not forget to teach the soft skills.
- A good advocate must follow the basic rules of advocacy but develop the ability to improvise upon them and show their own personality.
- The key to ensuring you can focus on your performance is preparation – fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
- Work on your breathing – you can use this to get your body into a relaxed, almost Zen-like state and eliminate the distractions.
- Breathing and posture is also key for projection and ensuring your voice can be heard throughout the courtroom. Do not mistake volume for power in the voice.
- Eloquence is important, but do not imitate someone else’s voice or accent.
- Seek feedback from colleagues and members of Chambers.
- Filter the information, distilling the papers to the absolute minimum.
- Jo explains his highlighter technique to organise his material and to ensure his eyes can find the required part of the papers without any faff.
- Jo explains how he takes notes while a witness is speaking, and how to make this as efficient and effective as possible.
- All human beings love stories – make the information as attractive and listenable as possible.
- The best advocates are emotionally intelligent – they are constantly picking up information from all those in the courtroom and are able to tailor their approach accordingly.
- What to do when you get a bad answer from a witness.
- How to let your personality come through in closing speeches.