Chiropractors who give effective presentations to community groups invariably see the fruits of their labors. They establish themselves as health authorities within the community, and they bring in more new patients to their practices.
If you’re not already giving these types of health talks, it’s not as difficult as you may think to get started. The average chiropractor already has many of the qualifications and the ability he or she needs to become an effective public speaker. Public speaking is really just an extension of in-office patient education.
Action steps: Obtain a list of the organizations in your community that use speakers as part of their meetings. Many of them can be found in the telephone directory. Some of the obvious ones are service clubs such as Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary; adult education classes; PTAs; church groups; garden clubs; libraries; civic associations; health-food stores; and fitness centers.
If you have patients who are members of any of these organizations, you have a head start on making the initial contact. If not, a letter to the program chairperson (addressed by name) will serve to introduce yourself and the subject of your proposed talk.
Try to gear your talk not so much toward what you want to say, but rather toward what a particular audience would like to hear.
- To a PTA group: Each year, according to recent reports, youths under age l5 suffer more than 227,000 soccer-related injuries. Your talk could include recommendations for soccer safety and safety in other popular youth sports.
- To a garden club: The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) says bending, reaching and digging in the garden can provide a great workout, but at the same time, can cause muscle injury if precautions are not taken. Your talk could include stretching techniques to prevent injuries, pain and stiffness.
- To almost any group: 95% of headaches are primary headaches such as tension, migraine or cluster headaches. “The greatest majority of these,” says Dr. George B. McClelland, a member of ACA’s Board of Governors, “are associated with muscle tension in the neck.” Your talk could include suggestions for avoiding headaches and the benefits of chiropractic as an effective treatment.
Something to keep in mind: The chiropractor whose only motive for public speaking is to obtain new patients will come across as self-serving — and leave a negative impression. To avoid any misinterpretation of your motives, make little reference to your practice, your years of experience, expertise or patients, unless someone asks a direct question. Keep it informative and low-key. The idea is to establish yourself as an “authority” — not as someone who is “looking for business.”
A ready-to-use resource: The American Chiropractic Association has developed a Practice Promotion Kit to greatly simplify public speaking to community groups. It includes short sample talks from ACA members on a variety of topics that you can use as-is (you can initiate a question-and-answer session afterwards).
The ACA kit also includes patient education fact sheets to use as handouts; charts and graphs to use in your presentations; and other public relations ideas to promote your practice, including ready-made ad “slicks” for use in local advertising. Call 800-368-3083 for information or to order.