As dental professionals, many of us act as motivational speakers. We influence and educate our office staff and fellow students. We reduce patient anxiety and explain why treatment is recommended. We even inspire ourselves to take continuing education and learn about new dental technologies. This type of communication can be used to stimulate change or simply encourage others. Motivational speaking is a skill that anyone can improve with practice and guidance. In her article “The Key Components of a Motivational Speech,” Laura Woods describes four basic techniques to engage your listeners.
The first suggestion is to have a clear purpose. Recognize your audience and how much description is required. What is the main point you are trying to convey? As dentists, we should remember to avoid excessive dental terminology so that patients understand the procedures we are explaining.
Second, include a personal story to help people identify with your speech. For example, demonstrate something you learned in dental school to train staff or assistants. Tell a patient about your first time in the dental chair to empathize with their situation.
Third, make sure your speech fits the audience. We might describe a procedure differently to a pediatric patient compared to an adult. You may also need to alter your delivery or behavior to certain circumstances.
Finally, make your ending points count. You can summarize what you previously explained and emphasize the most important part of your message. You want the audience to retain essential information and be inspired.
Remember, motivational speaking requires that you engage the listener. Always highlight your main goals and tailor your speech to the audience. By incorporating the basic techniques described above, you will improve your communication skills and enhance the success of your dental practice!
– Laura Nelson, Houston ’16, associate, Council on Communications