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:

  1. Read your audience.
  2. Using appropriate humor can:
    1. Warm up the audience;
    2. Engage the audience; and
    3. Help you relax.
  3. Stay within your comfort zone – it will expand over time
    1. Material and
    2. Style.
  4. Validate your audience:
    1. 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);
    2. Thank them for coming; abd
    3. 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),
  5. Modulate voice, adding emphasis when making a point.
  6. Avoid overuse of clinical slides for general audience.
  7. Tell stories – good ones not horror stories.
  8. Use lay language as much as possible.
  9. Keep it simple – leave the audience wanting more.
  10. 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!


Capko & Company your resource for statregic planning, practice management and marketing.

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