Click here for original, full-size version: Giving a Talk.
I have attended many health conferences in my time. Lately I’ve been observing how effectively (or not) speakers communicate with their audiences. The best speakers are humble, human and passionate. Alas, many folks resort to blandly reading their speaking notes off bullets on slides. The sad result of this approach is that people leave the talk with no take-aways, no knowledge to transfer to their workplace, no inspiration and no bold actions. What happens in the conference room stays in the conference room. That’s a waste for everybody, including the presenters.
I found a reference that said up to 70% of conference learning is lost 24 hours after a conference. 70%! This is my own call to action to end this conference waste.
What if speakers adopted some easy strategies to be more engaging and communicate more effectively in their talks? While my experience includes coaching families and patients to share their stories at the podium, I would humbly suggest that all conference speakers, including clinicians and researchers, could benefit from a few simple hints. I partnered with Karen Copeland from Champions of Community Mental Wellness to create this Giving a Talk infographic with tips to remember when preparing and delivering a talk.
Really, giving a talk should be about communicating with your audience, not just dumping information. An engaging, creative talk, even about a technical or clinical subject, is knowledge translation at its finest. This is not about dumbing things down. It is about understanding your audience and how people learn. As the great Di Vinci said: Simplicity is the greatest sophistication.