Home » Movies For Lawyers » The King’s Speech – Movies For Lawyers – The Act Of Communication Point Of View

The King’s Speech – Movies For Lawyers – The Act Of Communication Point Of View

2 February 2011

The KING’S SPEECH is a brilliant film. The performances, the writing, the direction, art direction….every aspect of the film making is exquisite. It is great fun and very uplifting. But further, for our purposes, the film captures quite wonderfully most of what we at ACT of Communication® have been doing with attorneys for the past 33 years.

In helping the new King George VI (Colin Firth) overcome his stutter, the speech “specialist” Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) employs a huge variety of techniques. He teaches the King the mechanics and exercises necessary to create proper diction and all the tools required for the body to create speech ….breathing, use of the tongue, lips and teeth, expanding and maximizing the lungs. All of this is well and good…yet they go further.

Interrupting the mechanical with flights of dancing and singing and cursing and yelling and opening up to make BIG SOUND and WHISPERING SOUND. Flooding the room with fresh air and walking and moving both in the room and out into the streets. With what I like to call, “this sideways approach” the King sidles up to and overcomes, conquers, reaches beyond what he thinks he can do. His conscious mind and his intuitive/instinctive self and body all work together.

For the past several decades we have coaxed, coached, implored, propelled attorneys beyond “what they think they can do”…past their conscious patterns and proscribed voices, gestures and mannerisms to find their full selves. The full complement of emotional, intellectual, physical expression allowing them to conquer, overcome, reach beyond what they do to what they can only imagine and sometimes beyond that.

When you see the film, don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize some of the techniques as those you have experienced with us at ACT of Communication®!

Alan’s Tip: Maximize your full power of speech and emotion and intellect, it is essential to practice and to use exercises with which you may not be familiar. Break out of your comfort zone into your full expression. 

There is one scene that reminds me exactly of what happens when I work with attorneys in a witness preparation session. It is just before King George (Colin Firth) gives the big speech after overcoming so much with the help of his “coach”.  He is overwhelmed. Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) says, “Just talk to me.”  Rush stands opposite Firth, giving him full eye contact and an open face to look at. It feels as though it is only the two of them and a microphone in the room rather than the most important, formal public speech to millions of his subjects. As if nothing matters more than this intimate exchange of words and complete acceptance of those words. It completely put me in mind of that same feeling I want the witness to have with the jurors. I have never seen a film so capture that magic moment of trust and expression as beautifully as this one.

Run, do not walk, to see this wonderful film: http://www.kingsspeech.com/

Katherine’s Tip: Make sure when your client is on the stand his/her relationship with the jurors is intimate and trusting.

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8 Comments to “The King’s Speech – Movies For Lawyers – The Act Of Communication Point Of View”

  1. I saw the King’s Speech tonight in Edinburgh to celebrate my 59th birthday. I enjoyed it so much I managed to get the majority of a packed house to clap along with me at the end. That is saying a lot for a Scots audience who don’t recognize the Queen of England as their Queen. I thought the actor who played the coach was excellent.

  2. I loved The King’s Speech! And I know exactly how it feels to face an audience and not be as polished or as smooth as I’d hoped to be. One of my favorite parts was when the tutor, played by Geoffrey Rush, says “Just talk to me.” I have often spoken in front of a group, found a few friendly faces, and convinced myself that I was having an intimate conversation with my new friends. When I appear for oral argument, I always tell my clients that the best thing we can hope for is that I have a conversation with the appellate court. Forget the fiery speeches that often occur in Hollywood movies. When I find that friendly, or even just attentive face, on the court of appeal, then it is as if I am speaking just to him or her. (Not forgetting, of course, to look at the other justices as well!)

    Sounds like this will be a fun blog. By the way, I just saw the 1966 version of A Man for All Seasons. Now there is a film for all lawyers!

    • Donna: I love that version of the stage play! You really want to check out Graham Thatcher’s Thomas Moore – he does a whole one man show for lawyers on it – will be coming to a computer near you this season!

  3. My father was a speech therapist who died in his mid-forties. When he went from working with individuals and into administration he “kept” the stutterers, with whom he had great success. In 1997, at my fortieth high school reunion one of those pupils crossed the room to me and said, “Do you remember me?” I said “Of course.” “Your father saved my life – I just wanted you to now that.” I sobbed, just as I am now as I write this.

    When the King yelled “Because I have a voice!” and his therapist said, “Yes – yes you do.” it all came flooding back.

    I didn’t inherit my father’s patience, nor, it seems his heart problems, but I did inherit his desire to help others become their very best selves and through that to help myself. In our work with attorneys I hope we honor that commitment – every day.

  4. I totally agree with you – it was a most wonderful film. As a coach myself, I loved how Rush portrayed the teacher and Firth the student who puts himself in Rush’s hands. That trust is an enormous part of the growth a student experiences.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful review. I enjoy how you both present your points of view!

    • Trust – you are so right, Chellie! When I am working on cases I often find myself saying, “This is a case about trust and betrayal.” And there is NOTHING like the trust that can be established between a lawyer and a client – I love helping make that part happen!

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