Albert L. Ousborne Jr., DDS
All of us are involved in speaking on dentistry, be it from the speaker`s platform or consulting with our patients concerning their treatment. Speaking is a part of our everyday lives.
Now let me ask you a significant question. How many CE courses have you attended where the material offered was excellent, but the audience was bored and half asleep? Most speakers are delivering their messages, but are they doing it in a manner that helps the audience absorb the content and feel excited about dentistry?
Am I the only one who keeps shifting my weight from one hip to the other while the monotone drone of the speaker lulls me into the twilight zone? Well, if you are a speaker - and we all are - or are contemplating speaking on dentistry and want to develop an exciting delivery that will keep your audience alert, you need a coach and a course on platform speaking.
I recently attended Dr. Paul Homoly`s course, "Speaking on Dentistry," and it was a real eye-opener! Paul is a master speaker. He has a theatrical background and he effectively uses it to show students how quickly they can be coached into phenomenal improvement. Paul does it by maintaining a safe environment that allows the participants to step out of character.
Imagine being coached in a small group of supportive students. Presenters deliver their message on video and then again after coaching. The changes and coaching are all individually videotaped so the participants will have a permanent record of the recommendations as they were actually happening. The results are profound!
The learning process is quite extensive. You learn how the stage is divided into different areas. Each is used to deliver specific parts of the speech. Certain locations provide heavy impact and are used to present your most important information. The patterns in emotion and logic are discussed in great detail, so all students can sense how to use them. Creating mental pictures and using words that people will never forget are emphasized. Learning to use visual language gives the speakers a whole new dimension. Audience management and "connecting" with an audience is discussed and practiced.
Designing your presentation
One of the most informative sessions was learning the design of a good presentation. There really is a format that sets the most beneficial patterns and sequences. Once understood, it is obviously a standard that you will use for your future speeches.
Most of us thought we knew how to present until we began learning about the nuances. How savvy are you in gestures, voice inflection, successful rehearsal, appealing to different types of audiences, storytelling, slide and overhead presentation, and persuasion? How about the fear of speaking? All of these topics were covered in detail, and I can honestly say they were presented in a professional, nonthreatening manner.
When Paul worked with me, my speech for new dentists on creating a successful dream practice took on an entirely different design. My original work pales in comparison! Guess who benefits? You, my audience! Paul has a magical way of working with the participants, so that they are not only comfortable learning, but they have a fun experience, too.
Reaching your audience
The next time you are listening to a ho-hum lecture, just remember how the presenter was influenced by mentors. Dental school marks the beginning of the mentorship, where heavy quantities of information must be delivered as quickly as possible. Our continuing-education lecturers, in general, are using the same kind of lecture format that their mentors used in school. They spew out facts and logical information, with no consideration for the audience`s feelings. Audiences need stimulation! If you`re like me, I`d much prefer a change from the boring delivery of logical facts.
The greatest speakers of our time and times past all had a message. We remember it because they had the ability to deliver it with verve, vitality, style, and excitement. Shakespeare said the world is a stage and we are all the actors. Even Shakespeare knew that platform speaking with proper animation and voice inflection makes for success.
If you currently are presenting or considering the possibility, take some courses to improve your presentation. We, in the audience, will thank you for it! Even if you aren`t planning on doing lectures, take some courses anyway. You`ll deliver a more persuasive treatment-plan consultation. More importantly, you`ll know and appreciate a fine lecturer, and you will become a better listener.
The participants in our course all hugged when we completed our two days. Each of us felt a surge in our professional and personal growth.
Remember that everyone needs a coach. Even the Lone Ranger didn`t ride alone!