Speak Up to Find New Patients

May 1, 2016 | Practice Management

A great way to find new patients is to be active in your community. Accept the invitation to speak to local groups like the Rotary, Lion’s Club or Chamber of Commerce. These kinds of organizations are always looking for speakers with interesting ideas to share. If you haven’t received an invitation in a while, surf the organization’s websites to find meeting schedules and let the organizers know that you are available to speak.

If you’re hesitant to speak in public, you’re not alone. There’s even a big word for it – Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. Fortunately it may be easier to overcome the fear than to pronounce the word. Here are a few simple steps to help you prepare for that talk.

  • Know your topic. The better you understand what you’re talking about — and the more you care about the topic — the less likely you’ll make a mistake or get off track. And if you do get lost, you’ll be able to recover quickly.
  • Get organized. Ahead of time, carefully plan the information you want to present, including any props, audio or visual aids you’ll use. The more organized you are, the less nervous you’ll be.
  • About that PowerPoint. No doubt, PowerPoint is a great tool, but don’t use it as a crutch. The slides should be graphics or brief bullet points that help convey your message to the audience. Instead of reading the slides to your audience, fill in the presentation with examples that will stick in the audience’s minds.
  • Use stories or humor. Keep your audience engaged with great stories. Humor is a great way to keep your audience clinging to every word.
  • Practice, and then practice some more. Practice your complete presentation several times. Do it for a few people you’re comfortable with. Ask them to give you feedback. Or, record it with a video camera and watch it so that you can see opportunities for improvement.
  • Visualize your success. Imagine that your presentation will go well. Positive thoughts can help decrease some of your negativity about your social performance and relieve some anxiety.
  • Take deep breaths. This can be very calming. Take two or more deep, slow breaths before you get up to the podium and during your speech.
  • Focus on your material, not on your audience. People mainly pay attention to new information — not how it’s presented. They may not notice your nervousness. If audience members do notice that you’re nervous, they may root for you and want your presentation to be a success.
  • Don’t be afraid of a moment of silence. If you lose track of what you’re saying or your mind goes blank, it can seem like an eternity. But in reality, it’s probably only a few seconds. Even if it’s longer, it’s likely your audience won’t mind a pause to consider what you’ve been saying. This might be a good time to take a few slow, deep breaths or a sip of water.
  • Recognize your success. After your presentation, give yourself a pat on the back. It may not have been perfect, but chances are you’re far more critical of yourself than your audience is. Everyone makes mistakes during speeches or presentations.

Now that you have some pointers on delivering a good speech, consider these speaking habits that turn people off or listen to the Ted Talk.

Now, go look for that deserving group. Good luck!