Get out into the community to improve public speaking skills
PUBLIC SPEAKING AND LECTURES at your local library, senior center or municipal health fair can be a great way to not only get new patients, but also educate people about the benefits of chiropractic care and the wellness lifestyle.
However, if you are nervous or shy about doing any sort of public speaking, presenting a lecture can seem anywhere from uncomfortable to utterly terrifying. If that is the case, take a deep breath and relax! Most people are not at ease speaking in public.
Learning this skill can be invaluable in not only potentially improving your bottom line, but also helping provide the public with information about the health benefits of chiropractic care. Read further to gain some valuable tips to help make you feel more comfortable speaking in front of an audience, improve public speaking skills, and to build additional community support.
Who is your audience?
While you may be sure of yourself when delivering a poster presentation at a professional symposium, discussing the benefits of chiropractic to a lay audience at a health fair requires a different approach that may require some rethinking on your part.
The clinical language that you can use with your colleagues will likely make no sense to the general public. Instead, focus on making your language as clear and plain as possible. Studies in the field of health literacy have shown that, while most American adults read at about a 10th grade level, most health care information is presented at an undergraduate college level.This is why it is important to consider the audience to whom you will be speaking.
Keep in mind that using plain language is not “dumbing it down” for a lay audience but actually making the concepts more accessible for them. Some examples can be found on the plainlanguage.gov website.
Practice makes perfect
You probably already know that the answer to the classic joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall is to practice. The joke might be corny, but there is some truth in it, nevertheless.
If you want to make your public presentation look professional, you will need to practice it again and again, until it sounds natural. You should also either videotape yourself or practice your speech in front of a mirror so that you can see how you move while speaking to improve public speaking skills. Your movements and gestures should look natural, not stiff.
Timing yourself will help you remember not to rush through your speech and have too much time left over. Ideally, you should have about 10 minutes at the end of your presentation to take questions and comments from the audience.
Aim for a tone that draws in your audience to be on your side. A good way to do this is by using a funny anecdote related to getting into shape or improving health that you have experienced. Odds are good that your audience has gone through a similar experience, so this is a good way to start off by finding a common ground from which to launch into explaining the health benefits of chiropractic and the wellness lifestyle.
Regardless of the education or financial level of those in your audience, they have all come to see you speak because they are interested in finding out more about your practice of chiropractic. At the same time, you will be learning how to “talk up” your chosen specialty in the medical field to improve public speaking skills while drawing in new patients. Be sure to remember to bring a stack of business cards.
TINA BEYCHOK is an editor and writer with expertise in technical, academic and scientific materials. She is a regular contributor to Chiropractic Economics and resides in Long Beach, Calif. Her online portfolio can be viewed at thatwordgrrl.com, and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.