Sure, as physicians we spread our message and explain medical issues all day long. You’d think that getting up and speaking about a medical issue with a room full of prospective patients would be a no brainer.
This, however, would be a grave mistake.
In order to be a great speaker, planning is required. The talk can convey only one main message to avoid confusion with a well-constructed beginning, middle and end.
- Hone in on only 3-4 related ideas. Tell a story that conveys the message in a way that people can related. Hearing stories, especially ones that evoke emotion, not only engage the listener but make the talk memorable. Long after people forget the statistics or facts, they will remember the stories that you have told.
- Speak in terms and words that the average person can understand. Don’t spout off “medicalese” to sound impressive. If the audience cannot understand what you are saying, they will not only miss what you are trying to say, they will totally tune out. Your impression will be one of a pompous, arrogant person instead of a nurturing, empathetic person who is trying to explain treatment options to the public.
- Leave out the acronyms. These may be second nature to you but not everyone understands the abbreviations and acronyms that are bandied about in the health community.
- Don’t speak in a monotone. Relating stories to get your point across will enable you to be animated and emotional about your topic
- Speak loudly and don’t mumble. If people can’t hear or understand, the only sound in the room will be those who are snoring in the audience.
- Look people in the eye. Your viewing audience wants to feel that you are there for them and feeling what you are saying.
- Use hand gestures when appropriate
- Enable your audience to ask questions. When they engage with you and receive solutions for the problems that they are seeking, they will want to hear you time and again or want to make an appointment with you at your office.
- Don’t forget to include a call to action. This is one of the most important aspects of the speech. Examples of this would be:
- Send me an email to request a copy of the slides presented at this talk.
- Call my office to make an appointment
- Sign up for my newsletter
- If your organization needs a speaker, contact me for bookings
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