Deliver Dynamic Presentations
As a healthcare and business professional, your ability to powerfully communicate has a direct impact on your practice's success.
You can overcome anxiety, deliver presentations with confidence, credibility and control and, consequently, propel your practice to the top by following these tips.
1 Make an excellent first impression
The moment you enter the room, your soon-to-be audience sizes you up. They notice your clothing, body language, facial expressions and the way you interact with audience members prior to your presentation. Fair or not, they use these visual impressions to judge whether you're going to be a credible speaker. To ensure you're putting your best foot forward:
► Dress appropriately. If you want to appear as a professional, you must dress as a professional.
► Have confident body language. Entering the room with a smile and your shoulders back conveys that you're confident in the material you're about to present and in yourself.
2 Start with a spark
If you want your audience to receive your message, you must immediately captivate their interest. I've discovered several methods that are particularly effective in accomplishing this:
► Tell a story, making sure its point relates to the main point(s) of your message.
► State a compelling statistic that immediately educates the audience of the importance of listening to your presentation.
► Ask questions (to keep the audience involved).
3 Avoid filler words, and edit words and phrases
How many times have you sat through a presentation and found yourself counting the number of times the speaker said "um," "uh," and/or "you know" because their repetition distracted you from his message? The "uhs," and "ums," are "filler" words, while "you know" is a "filler" phrase.
4 Master your non-verbal communication
Extensive research in verbal and non-verbal communication in both group and one-on-one settings suggests that facial expression, body language and voice quality deliver 93% of communication. In other words: It's not what you say, but what they hear that counts.
► Use eye contact. Imagine having a conversation with someone, yet that person keeps looking around and over your shoulder. You'd probably feel as if he wasn't interested in you. So, you'd lose interest in him and look for someone else with which to talk
► Gesture naturally. Appropriate gestures add interest to your presentation and punctuate your message. An appropriate gesture is one that naturally serves as a visual extension of your words, which helps to reinforce the message. It compliments rather than distracts from your message.
► Enhance your vocal power. Your voice can be one of your best tools for communication. Through your vocal energy and power, you can command attention and communicate with confidence, clarity and poise.
5 Sharpen your communication axe
President Abraham Lincoln said, "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe." Athletes and performers spend countless hours sharpening their respective "axes," before every game or show to ensure they deliver their best.
You can sharpen your communication axe through proper planning, preparation and practice. All are surefire ways to catapult your communication and speaking skills and deliver messages that captivate, inspire and motivate your listeners.
The "secret" of great presenters is they not only consider "what" to say, but have mastered the art of "how" to say it. By following the seven aforementioned tips, you too can become a great presenter. The result: An influx of new patients and practice revenue.
This has been a summary of Ms.Parker's article in Optometric Management, July 2009.