You may be an expert at what you do, but are you comfortable articulating it in a confident and engaging manner to an audience?
As a health-care practitioner, it is not unusual to be asked to speak at conferences, webinars, and events to share your expertise and knowledge with your community. It’s a wonderful gift to be able to share your wisdom with others outside your office setting. It’s also a great way to continue growing your practice and attracting a wider audience of your ideal patients, but the reality is, it’s easier said than done.
Communicating with authority helps you to convert, retain, and build long-term relationships with patients. They are coming to you as an expert, so being able to confidently express what you can do to help them and what they can expect when working with you is key.
It takes time and effort to build the courage and experience needed to master this skill set, but just like anything else that takes you out of your comfort zone, the long-term results can be well worth any awkward start.
Setting a Roadmap for Your Message
Lead Your Audience on a Journey
You need to have a plan for the direction you want to take your audience on, which is based on your topic or specialty. Lead them on a journey that walks them through how they feel and onto how you can help them to heal. Articulate a very specific message in a manner that feels right and comfortable to you.
Relate through Your Experience
While a good talk engages the audience using stories, you need to avoid speaking about yourself too often. Instead, use your personal and professional experience to relate to them and their pain points. When you make that transition, you’re engaging the audience.
Keep Finessing Your Process
It’s important to always be open to constructive feedback because that will let you know where there is room for improvement on your roadmap. This is how you will get better as a speaker, and it will help you grow faster.
Focus on Your Ideal Audience
It’s not only important to know your subject, but it is ideal to know your audience, too. Who needs to hear your message? When you can clarify the answer to this question, then you can start tailoring your conversation to your audience.
Everyone wants to be a good speaker, but not everyone wants to do the work it takes. By choosing to put time and effort into this area of your professional development, you can learn how to speak with authority, clarity, and certainty.
Choosing a Topic to Speak About
Lean into Your Expertise
Think about your expertise and what you have been doing for many years. Think about your hobbies, your habits, and something personal that you’re an authority on. An example may be a passion of yours, such as fitness. Imagine yourself speaking on that topic at a conference when you happen to have a heckler in the audience.
You would know how to handle the heckler because you’re an authority on that subject. This should be your level of certainty with any topic you speak on.
Tap Into Your Passion to Help
Choose topics that you are passionate about. Choose currently relevant topics that you know will help your audience. As an example, most people would agree that stress is currently a huge issue. Can you help people with easy ways to change their stress into calm with the expert tools they can use themselves at home?
Adding value into your conversation that speaks to a current issue is a huge opportunity to show people that you are there to help. Build a relationship with your audience by teaching them things they can do to help themselves. Also, offer them your guided, professional solutions to help them get there faster and more efficiently.
Meet Your Audience “Where They are at” with Their Issue
Start by understanding the way your ideal patients talk about the problem so that you are better able to meet them where they are at with their issue. Become familiar with their issues and what happens if they don’t fix them.
Pro Tip: Use the FAQs you receive in your practice as a starting point to understanding your audience.
Gaining Clarity and Certainty
Talk Their Language
Now that you know your audience, you need to speak their language if you want to connect. The easiest way to do this is to tap into your patients’ values and needs and be authentic when addressing them.
For example, speak in terms of how you can help them to make the necessary changes to their lifestyle as opposed to the technicalities or science behind your methods or treatment.
Make sure you speak in a clear and concise manner, so there’s no room for misinterpretation. How many times have you been listening to a podcast or a YouTube video and you’ve had to go back and listen to a certain part over again? If you’re not clear and authoritative, or if the language you use is medically technical, your audience might tune out or miss what you say. The best advice is to speak to your audience at a 5th-grade level. This works well and it will help you get your message across with clarity.
Your goal when communicating is to speak as an authority figure with clarity, certainty, and conviction in a language that the audience can understand. When a speaker has the conviction of their purpose and vision, it’s very exciting and energetic. Engage with your audience and they will absolutely want to participate.
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
Expand Your Existing Audience
If you’ve given talks at your office before and it’s a little intimidating for you, you need to embrace the challenge with practice. Try inviting your patients to bring coworkers, family, or friends to your talks so that you have a new audience of people that you may not be comfortable speaking to because you don’t know them.
Reach Out to Your Local Network
A great way to connect with new people is by getting out of your office and talking to a group of people that you don’t know. Put your information out there and look for groups that are looking for speakers.
Look for businesses in your community that share your same values, but don’t offer what you do. Seek local business networking groups or corporations that bring in wellness speakers. Ask your current patients if their company or employer would be interested in hearing your message to get it out there to different audiences.
Getting out of your comfort zone in this manner is a fantastic way not only to build experience but to build your confidence in your ability to do so. It will start getting easier and it will empower you to share your message with people that need to hear it and to engage with people who have not yet had the opportunity to get to know you, but who are part of your target market.
Speaking to Your Target Market’s Value System
As discussed earlier, understanding who you want to speak to and then speaking directly to their values is essential when it comes to being a successful speaker on any subject. Understanding your target market is so important because the reality is: If your talk is for everyone, it’s not for anyone!
You need to take your ideal patient’s biggest pain points, their values, and what speaks to them and tailor your conversation to their needs. Always keep in mind that it’s not just about the information you’re going to give them, it's ultimately about how you’re going to make them feel.
Together we can make a massive impact by giving one talk at a time!