Talk your way to the top
3 speaking secrets to grow your practice
By Larry Duboff, DC
Speaking to groups of people in your community is one way to grow your practice.
As a chiropractor, opportunities to speak are abundant since people are always looking for better ways to care for their health. Public speaking gives you the opportunity to market your message and develop a steady flow of new patients.
Many DCs, however, are either apprehensive about public speaking or lack the proper training to do it well. Others are simply tired of depending on traditional confrontational closing techniques to create new patients.
There are powerful strategies you can learn to communicate chiropractic with professionalism and ease — strategies that can be used by new and experienced speakers alike.
Strategies for success
In particular, there are three strategies that will immediately boost your confidence as a public speaker and add a new dimension to your talks.
1. Develop an entertaining chiropractic presentation. The first secret to creating new patients through speaking is to develop an entertaining speech. This important element of humor is often missing from traditional chiropractic presentations.
Many chiropractors originally provided too much serious content in their talks. Like many DCs, they followed the “present and persuade” theory: Present all of the logical reasons why people need to have their spines checked and, once informed, audience members will be persuaded to sign up for a complimentary chiropractic exam. This approach, however, has its limits, because people are rarely motivated to act based solely on straight information.
Successful marketing depends more on connecting with people emotionally than logically. And chiropractic care is no exception. Now you do need to offer your listeners some facts and figures; the important information just needs to be balanced with entertaining material. When you make your presentations fun, people will be more receptive to your serious message.
One of the best ways to deliver a chiropractic speech that entertains as well as explains is to lighten it up with humor. Highly successful speakers can deliver a serious message and have fun with their audiences, and so can you. Humorous stories are more powerful than telling jokes.
When you tell a joke, you run the risk of offending someone or at least weakening rapport with the audience. Instead, share original stories where the humor is aimed at you. Opening your talk with self-deprecating humor is a great way to make an impact. Using humorous stories to support key points is important too; they ensure audience members remain attentive throughout the presentation.
To find entertaining material, simply examine the lighter side of life’s experiences and funny stories will be readily available. For example: Open with a story of your most embarrassing moment in front of an audience. Such a story generates laughter and will put the audience at ease so you can communicate your message more effectively.
2. Speak like a pro. The second secret is to learn the platform skills the pros use. Great speakers know they must deliver their information using stagecraft to motivate, captivate, and persuade. As a chiropractic speaker, you will have greater impact on your audiences when you deliver your presentations using the same set of skills.
To help you look and sound your best when you tell the chiropractic story to groups in your community, follow two suggestions.
• Slow down. Bill Gove, known in the speaking industry as the father of professional speaking — having trained or influenced many of the most successful speakers for more than 50 years — used to say, “When giving a speech, most people speak as if they were double-parked!”
Speaking too fast may mentally exhaust audience members and cause them to lose interest. So, to maximize the connection with your listeners, speak slowly when you deliver your chiropractic presentations.
• Use appropriate body movements. Unnecessary movements, such as swaying side to side, are distracting and weaken your message. For example: You will want to stand still when you deliver important points. A strong stance demonstrates you have confidence in your ideas.
On the other hand, when you tell a story to support a point, deliberate movements can enhance your speech — such as shifting your position to illustrate the roles of different people in the story. This adds animation to your presentation to help you captivate listeners.
3. Flood your calendar with talks. Once your chiropractic speech is developed and you are prepared to deliver it with impact, you are ready to flood your calendar with speaking engagements.
Speaking often to local organizations will enable you to master your speaking skills and marketing strategies, and is the secret to creating a steady flow of new patients.
There are several ways to schedule presentations; however, consider the following two principles for creating talks, which will allow you to achieve maximum results with minimal effort.
• Network from the top down. Simply identify the patients, friends, and people you network with who are decision-makers within businesses or community organizations, then market yourself as an exciting speaker who can be a valuable resource to their organization.
For example: Let’s say one of your patients supervises a team of more than 25 sales professionals. Ask to speak to her employees for 20 minutes to share a few stress reduction tips. More than likely she will be enthusiastic about motivating her team and will schedule you to speak at one of her monthly meetings.
In this example, you are able to present your speech because your patient is in a position to say “yes” to your request directly, without seeking someone else’s approval. This is generally the fastest way to schedule speaking engagements.
• Create an additional talk from each one given. To obtain “spin-offs,” simply offer to give “part two” of your talk to the same group. Or if you are at a big company, offer to speak to a different group of employees.
In almost every instance, there are multiple opportunities within the same community organization or business. Most of the time you simply need to ask, and then follow through with your intention to speak a second time.
There are many other exciting speaking skills and marketing strategies to learn; however, these three will help you build a strong foundation for your speaking success. They will enable you to connect with people in your community and transform many of them into new chiropractic patients.
So develop an entertaining chiropractic speech, deliver it well, and deliver it often — and you will talk your way to the top!
Larry Duboff, DC, is a speech coach and marketing mentor to chiropractors worldwide. He shows fellow DCs easier and more-effective ways to attract new patients through public speaking. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or though www.chirospeakers.com.