Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 160) – Allan Rock

Allan Rock – Canadian President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, former Federal Minister of Justice, former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations

Allan Rock – Canadian President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, former Federal Minister of Justice and Ambassador to the United Nations

“The art of advocacy is the art of persuasion. And persuading the tribunal should motivate everything counsel does. In order to be persuasive, counsel must be credible, so conceding the obvious is always important. To be persuasive, counsel must know the case thoroughly so careful preparation is fundamental. An argument is persuasive if it is inherently probable, consistent with the facts and with common sense. Throughout it all, counsel must maintain the court’s respect by being always courteous, scrupulously honest and unfailingly fair. When the tribunal retires to determine the matter, it must be with the impression that you did everything possible to assist it in arriving at a just result, even as you fulfilled your duty to your client. That is the path to persuasion and the soul of advocacy.”

 Allan Rock

Photo courtesy of the University of Ottawa

About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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2 Responses to Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 160) – Allan Rock

  1. Chris Daly says:

    Yes another great quote John and spot on, but oh so much the lawyer which is understandable considering the context. I am increasingly aware of another factor that enhances the power of persuasion that has to do with the connection to your audience and that is the “power of vulnerability”. Brene Brown, the Social Researcher has a done a very popular Ted Talk on this topic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o and what a difference this knowledge makes especially to a speech. I gave this information to a person I mentor at my club and last week she was voted the best speaker of the night over a former club champion and it was only her 5th speech.

    • John Zimmer says:

      Hi Chris,

      Brene Brown’s TED Talk is great. I am with you on the power of being vulnerable. Very important. And here’s the thing, lawyers can do it as well. When I was pleading a case in court, I found that I was far more effective to inject a bit of humour when appropriate and to acknowledge obvious weaknesses in my case. Judges always appreciated and respected lawyers who could argue a case in a forceful, but humane and engaging way.



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