Nicholson Center Blog

Top Six Tips for Speaking at a Medical Conference

Posted by Kathleen Kroll on Jan 3, 2017 11:35:34 AM

How to Present at a Conference

Speaking at a medical conference or educational event doesn’t come without challenges. Attendees invest time, money and effort to attend, so the expectations are high. A speaker is responsible for not only conveying a message to the crowd, but also keeping them engaged. Presenters in the healthcare field also have the added weight of education and accreditation on their shoulders, making sure attendees are fully engaged to earn their CME credits. Below are some tips to make sure your next presentation goes smoothly, keeping the above challenges in mind.

Before

  1. Know your topic: When taking on the opportunity to speak at an event, it is important to understand how vital preparation is to the success of your session. Knowing the subject goes without saying, but being able to engage with your audience is something many speakers lack. The better you know the topic, the more you can focus on telling a story that will have the audience eager to learn more. Go beyond being well-versed in your topic, and ask yourself what the main takeaway for your audience is. Once you’ve established the primary goal, let your expertise fill in the rest.
  2. Know the environment: Work with the conference organizers to determine which materials you’ll need to cover and find out if your speech needs to be approved beforehand. It’s also beneficial to know who will be in attendance, and in what kind of setting you will presenting. For instance, do the acoustics make it difficult for the audience to hear? Is the room set up for you to walk around, rather than stand still? These are critical details that will help you tailor the presentation for a specific audience.
  3. Know the technology available: If possible, test the microphone and run your presentation beforehand. Losing the audience’s attention can happen quickly when experiencing technical difficulties.

During

  1. Use social media: The most important part about speaking at a conference is to keep the audience interested, from beginning to end. Although there are many ways to go about it, social media is an incredibly effective way to break through to members who may not have voiced their opinions otherwise. For instance, set up a Twitter poll prior to your session, and pose the question during your speech. This allows people in the audience the ability to answer without the fear speaking out, in case they don’t like talking in front of large crowds. Having a presentation hashtag and keeping a live feed will also allow you to answer questions as they roll in.
  2. Finish on time: Another way to be in the good graces of your audience is to finish your presentation on time, if not a few minutes early. Conferences require meticulous timing, and the last thing you want is for people to start leaving before you are finished, so make sure you keep a watchful eye on the time throughout your presentation and be prepared to adjust, if necessary.

After

  1. Follow up: Once you have concluded your presentation, make sure to continue the interactivity and social engagement beyond the session. Not only should you be engaging with the people who attended the conference, but also anyone who may have been watching it through a live-stream. Encourage audience members to follow you on the appropriate social media platforms to keep in touch once the presentation is over, or address any unanswered questions.

Creating an engaging presentation should be your top priority. If you choose to host your event at the Nicholson Center, we can handle everything else, from technical issues to refining the subject matter. Contact us to learn more about our event calendar and CME services.

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Topics: Continued Medical Education Event Planning, Audience Engagement, Presenting, Medical Conference

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