Interested in presentation tips for teaching attorneys?
I had the opportunity to present a session on medical records as part of a New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education program. As a professional speaker and member of the National Speakers Association, I have learned several techniques which I incorporated that you can use the next time you make a presentation to attorneys. Use these presentation tips to polish your program.
1. Be clear on who will be in the audience. I knew our audience could have included an assortment of defense, plaintiff attorneys and judges. Knowing your audience is crucial. The wrong message to the wrong group causes confusion and frustration.
2. Be clear on the expected content. I consulted with one of the attorneys who was moderating the panel of experts to get his ideas on what I should cover.
3. Be clear on the expectations of when to turn your material in. The people who have to assemble the materials often have tight deadlines for producing the course book. Don’t overlook the opportunity to include materials that demonstrate your expertise. I included my slides as well as several pieces on medical records. Only 2 out of the 5 experts on the program submitted materials. The others missed a marketing opportunity.
4. Incorporate best practices for designing Powerpoint slides. Use colorful slides, lots of pictures and a minimum of words. Search the internet for free Powerpoint templates for a fuller range of choices.
5. When you start your presentation, don’t tell a joke or thank the moderator for including you. Both approaches tend to turn off your audience and mark you as an amateur.
6. Include an appropriate story as close to the beginning of the talk as possible. People are conditioned to listen to stories, and often learn your points much better through stories.
7. If other speakers have come before you, draw on the points they made and weave them into your presentation, if possible.
8. Include opportunities to allow the audience to interact with each other and with you. For example, I asked the attorneys to pick a partner and discuss their biggest challenge with medical records. Then I asked them to give me feedback about what they had discussed. This exercise immediately changed the energy in the room.
9. Repeat and rephrase questions so everyone can hear what was asked. Keep your face near the microphone for the best sound but avoid placing your lips within an inch of it. This can lead to a popping sound. Don’t twist around and look at the slides on the screen. Keep your laptop in front of you so you can maintain eye contact with your audience.
10. Make sure your computer is plugged into power. In the middle of my presentation, the computer started beeping and displaying a low battery message. I became briefly flustered and then relieved when the moderator solved the problem.
11. Don’t end your presentation with the question, “Does anyone have any questions?” Instead, say, “Before I make my final point, does anyone have questions?” Then after you’ve answered questions, make your final point and end with a strong summary of what you’ve said.
12. Be easy to work with. Be appreciative of the chance to present. Thank the moderators and the program coordinator. Don’t use the podium to blatantly market your services. If you have the experience and knowledge your audience needs, and demonstrate it through your stories, they will recognize how you can help them.
Incorporate these presentation tips to build and present a strong program.
Patricia Iyer MSN RN LNCC is president of the Pat Iyer Group. She presents on legal issues to nurses, physicians, attorneys, and paralegals. Making presentations to attorneys is just one way to market. Pat is a member of the National Speakers Association. Learn others when you sign up for How to Get All the Clients You Need