That was the advice a memo from someone at Clifford Chance told the woman lawyers at the multi-national law firm in an effort to help them give better presentations. The advice was directed at the Clifford Chance women attorneys who make up a fraction of the 3,700 of their legal advisors.  The memo urges female lawyers to “practice hard words,” stop saying “like” and to button up, explaining “No one heard Hillary the day she showed cleavage” and “Think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe.” Other tips on the memo include:

  • “Like” You’ve got to Lose “Um” and “Uh,” “You know,” “OK,” and “Like”
  • Don’t raise your pitch at the end of a statement if it’s not a question.
  • Lower the pitch — say “uh-huh” and match that pitch to how low you can go
  • Don’t qualify: “Kind of, sort of, just…”

Some of it is good advice that we need to be reminded every now and then but the rest -- Well I think there is better advice to give anyone giving a presentation. My advice,

  • Be yourself but professional.
  • Be natural but have fun.
  • Enjoy the moment, it's yours.

If you want other good presentation tips, Ragan.com posted 8 Things Never To Say During Your Presentation.

Following the release of the memo on the blog, Above the Law, a Clifford Chance representative said, “The original presentation and associated tips represented a personal perspective, shared with a group of colleagues, some just starting out in their careers.”  (See the rest of the memo here.)

If that is the case, then Clifford Chance should respond they way the memo was leaked and use social media to address the issue directly.  They should follow up with a blog post of their own and post it on their blog or website. I would not recommend they respond to concerns on Twitter or Facebook. If they do they will continue to contribute to the debate and if I were advising Clifford Chance, I would have them post a blog or statement and find opportunities to reinvest in the people of their firm to restore trust and their image, particularly women.

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