One of the greatest fears in life is public speaking. Yet, as a podiatric professional you will be called to do just that. It may be a talk before members of your local senior citizens club or an address to your colleagues at a professional meeting but regardless of the audience, the fear factor is the same. Fortunately, there are some tips for making public speaking less frightening and more productive. At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED), we have the benefit of hearing the best solutions to professional challenges from practitioners at all stages from student to experienced physician.
Here are 5 tips for hooking your audience from the get go and—yes—maybe even enjoying sharing your knowledge with others.
- Involve your audience immediately. Start your talk with a compelling story that arouses interest. If you’re addressing athletes, tell a story of a famous football or basketball player and a foot injury they sustained. Let your story illustrate how the injury was diagnosed, treated and the eventual outcome for the player. Pique your hearer’s interest and teach along the way.
- Pose a question that needs an answer. Alternatively, ask your audience to offer solutions to a particular problem. Obviously you should choose a topic that is of particular interest to the population you are addressing.
- Use visuals to illustrate your point. A slide of a mycotic nail is worth a thousand descriptive words.
- Convince your listeners. Pretend everyone in the audience is wearing a sign that reads, “What’s in it for me?” Target your suggested course of action to the people you are addressing. If there are roadblocks to the course of action you are recommending, be sure to reveal how to get past them.
- End with a call to action. Evoke a sense of urgency regarding the importance of the action you are calling your listeners to take. Discuss the benefits of the treatment you are advocating and help your patient visualize life “on the other side” of your recommended course of action. If you can, find a small trinket or gift to leave your audience. Lottery tickets for, example, coupled with the message: “Don’t leave the health of your feet to chance.”