Agreat presenter combines the best qualities of an entertainer and a professor. “They never lose sight of the fact that they are trying to make an impression on their audience,” said Jeff
Explore this issue:December 2016
Hausfeld, MD, MBA, an otolaryngologist and co-founder of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, based in Potomac, Md. “Their speech has a certain cadence, and they have an uncanny ability to engage and connect with their audience. Their slides remind them of the overarching important highlights they need to cover but, for the most part, they speak from experience, extemporaneously lending their unique perspectives on sometimes very complex and technical topics.”
Sounds easy enough, right?
Presenting at a meeting requires careful planning. Begin by ascertaining who will be in your audience and tailor your talk specifically to them. “If your task is to deliver a highly technical talk and your audience is diverse, make sure you speak to the least sophisticated person who will attend,” advised Dr. Hausfeld, who no longer practices clinical medicine, instead focusing on the business of medicine. “But do it in a way that does not lose your more technically savvy attendees.”
Lisa Ishii, MD, MHS, associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and chief quality officer at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, suggests starting your talk by presenting a vision that captures the audience’s attention and makes them want to continue to listen to understand how they will get there. “This sets the stage for a story that the speaker will then unfold over the course of the presentation,” she said.
Ken Lizotte, CMC, chief imaginative officer of Emerson Consulting Group in Concord, Mass., recommends starting with something startling. “Find a statistic or outrageous example of a main point pertaining to your topic or a scenario of something that could happen but that could have also been prevented,” he said. “This technique will immediately get your audience’s attention.”
The key is to include the audience in your talk, said Joseph Simon, PT, DPT, CIDN, a private practice consultant based in New York City. “Ask enrolling questions. For example, ‘How many of you are in private practice, and how many work for a hospital?’ Whatever their opinion, you’ll get the whole room engaged. Have them say ‘yes’ by raising their hands or nodding ‘yes.’”
Rules to Speak By
Once you’ve captured your audience’s attention, don’t lose it. Content is king, said Jim Stone, president and co-founder of The Medicus Firm, a physician search firm in Dallas. “Researching relevant, impactful, and compelling content that is well organized and pertinent to the topic and audience is paramount,” he added.