I like the approach to oral argument that's laid out in Catherine Wright Smith's "The Accidental Advocate: Tips for the Reluctant Rhetorician." Read one of the opening paragraphs and see if it doesn't draw you in--
What turned me from a sweaty-palmed novice with a lump in my throat to an eager advocate with a gleam in my eye? I think the change occurred when I realized that oral argument is a misnomer. An effective appearance before an appellate court should not be considered combat with opposing counsel. Instead, it is your only, golden opportunity for thoughtful dialogue with the judges who hold your client's fate in their minds - and hearts. Once I began looking at oral advocacy as a structured conversation with the court, many of the concerns I had about straying from the "script" of a prepared presentation disappeared . . .
It's not a bad way to view oral argument. The rest of Smith's article explains how she goes about preparing for oral argument from start to finish. Recommended for all oral advocates.