Physicians are accustomed to speaking in front of their peers and giving clinical presentations, but don’t assume this makes you a good speaker for a general audience. Beyond practice makes perfect, here are ten tips to take to the podium:
- Read your audience.
- Using appropriate humor can:
- Warm up the audience;
- Engage the audience; and
- Help you relax.
- Stay within your comfort zone – it will expand over time
- Material and
- Validate your audience:
- Ask a question to engage the audience – and occasionally you might say “Do you agree?” if a comment you made was general to the audience – or “I see some of you agree with me” (If you see some yes nods);
- Thank them for coming; abd
- When asked a question occasionally say “that’s a good question” and repeat the question for the audience before answering (unless the question is asked with a Mic),
- Modulate voice, adding emphasis when making a point.
- Avoid overuse of clinical slides for general audience.
- Tell stories – good ones not horror stories.
- Use lay language as much as possible.
- Keep it simple – leave the audience wanting more.
- Be yourself, but s strive for improvement – and always smile. It makes you a friend of the audience.
Go for it and soon you’ll be a pro!
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