A team researched their position well and amassed a stockpile of arguments that were certain to throw their opponents out of the ring by the they finished their opening statement.

And then they undid themselves: 

I won't even attempt to imitate the first . Her opening statement contained so much information—so many arguments and assertions—which all had to be delivered in eight minutes—that her speech sounded like the disclaimer after a pharmaceutical commercial.

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The judges couldn't tell what the topic was.

They couldn't tell if the arguments were any good.

This avalanche of facts, citations, examples, evidence, and rapidfire verbiage obscured the very points that might have won the .

What happens to our voices when we get upset or feel defensive?

We speak faster and faster.

And how do you think that impacts the judges' impressions of your and state of ?

Meanwhile, the other team was paced, poised, and professional. 

Which team do you think the judges favored?

Experienced trial attorneys will tell you it's not the best argument that carries the jury; it's the best .

Plan your opening—and your closing—statements so you can deliver them at an unhurried pace. The you project may have more impact on the judges than your arguments.