By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
The primary reason that public speaking is a powerful and persuasive tool in healthcare marketing is that it is highly personal. A good speech is a tool of engagement that can make an emotional or intellectual connection—sometimes a bond—between the speaker and individuals in the audience.
Physicians, medical practice administrators, hospital public relations executives, and corporate representatives can all find and use community or professional talks to directly engage one listener. Speaking in public can cause an institutional image (health system, hospital or medical group) to be transformed—in the mind of each listener—into a fellow human being.
The trouble is, many people are not comfortable with public speaking. And, although the cost is relatively low, finding, preparing and delivering speeches is often underutilized in healthcare marketing. Here’s how to turn that around…
- It gets easier with preparation and practice. Virtually everyone can gain self-confidence and overcome the fear of the podium when they have confidence in their material and a little rehearsal. Ask a friend or colleague to coach or provide feedback.
- A video camera is better than a mirror. Practice talking to a video camera to help overcome any hypercritical self-awareness. Talk to one person in practice and talk to one person in the actual presentation.
- The audience wants the speaker to succeed. Individuals in the audience are genuinely interested in you and the topic…or, frankly, they probably wouldn’t be in the audience at all.
Finding speaking engagements can also be easier than you think…
1. You’ve got to ask. It shouldn’t be surprising, but the number one way that speakers are invited to be speakers is to ask to be asked. If you’re too busy or reluctant to champion yourself, an experienced public relations office can help connect your availability with program chairmen, event sponsors and the like.
2. Include “speaker” on your website and be easy to contact. As above, use your website, CV, social media outlets and other communications to position your availability.
3. Publish articles and/or get quoted in the media. Spotlight yourself once in a while to be recognized as an authoritative voice and an experienced public speaker. Can you identify yourself as an author, expert and/or public speaker?
4. Pursue specific targets of opportunity. List the professional organizations, public events, association meetings and the like where you would like to be on the speaker’s list. Identify the program chairman or organizer and let them know you are available, and offer a list of appropriate topics.
5. Promote every speech or media appearance. Connect with the media in advance and provide information about your speaking topic. Publicity before and after an event helps build awareness and enhance your recognition and reputation.
For more on this, here’s a related article, Eight Public Speaking Tips for Maximum Marketing Mileage; How to succeed at public speaking, enhance your reputation and produce new revenue.