I learnt very early in my business career the importance of lecturing, speaking and presenting as a means to promote my businesses and raise my profile.
There is nothing more powerful than to stand in front of an audience and give a presentation on your topic of expertise – even better if the lecture is half decent.
The good news is that even if you are not a polished speaker – with 50% of the population listing “public speaking” as their second biggest life fear – second only to “Death” – it is not hard to see why speakers are held in such high regard by most audiences.
I encourage all health professionals to get cracking and start delivering seminars, lectures and in-services as often as you can to whoever will listen.
Here are a couple of tips from someone who has been on the lecturing stage for most of my professional life –i.e. ME
– When you are starting out do simple presentations to crowds you know well – i.e. your family, friends, sporting teammates, your dog –it is all about getting time in front of the people in the early stages.
– Develop a number of simple talks on topics you are most comfortable with – I guarantee all health professionals have a specific area of expertise that will lend itself very well to some great seminars and presentations.
– Don’t let perfection stop you from getting started – one of my mentors once told me “Better to be 80% and out the door then 100% and in the drawer”.
– You are never going to please everyone – accept that and move on. I often give out feedback forms at the end of my seminars – mostly to collect testimonials – but also to check crowd satisfaction. From experience there will always be people that you did not connect with, had heard it all before etc. You need to accept that some people will not be happy – so get over this fast.
However – my major tip is to make sure you don’t give up even if you have a couple of setbacks, some poor feedback or are rejected by a conference organizer – I have had all of these happen to me – and still do – so you must keep going.
Very few – if any – of us are born great public speakers – most of us develop and grow as we do more and more presentations.
I remember one of my early seminars was at a fitness conference in the UK nearly 20 years ago – I was not a paid presenter but got a lecturing spot because my beautiful wife was a featured presenter at this convention – so I suppose they felt sorry for me and gave me a gig.
I can tell you now – I was terrible – arrogant, poorly prepared – basically I was a real dud.
I remember telling the attendees at a recent conference about this dud UK lecture when a lady put her hand up and said that she was actually in the crowd at that ill fated presentation over 20 years ago.
I proceeded to apologize for my past poor performance and we had a good laugh about it – I was amazed that she came back to give me another go.
She actually then said “I didn’t think it was too bad – you did your best”.
That’s all you can ever do – your best – and as long as you keep practicing, improving and developing your skills – you will find lecturing and speaking to be an incredibly powerful and rewarding part of your overall marketing plan.
If you have any lecturing disaster stories – pease place a comment on this topic.