10 Tips for Chiropractic Lay Lecture Presentations
Ask any seasoned chiropractor with four or five decades under his belt. "What's the best way to grow a chiropractic practice?"
"That's easy," he says without blinking an eye. "Give regular lay lecture presentations."
It's not the answer you were hoping for. Especially since chiropractic lectures involve public speaking. Which is the most feared activity on the planet!
The Chiropractic Lay Lecture
This classic tool to grow a chiropractic practice has been used for decades. And for good reason. It works.
What is it? It's a small, informal talk lasting from 20-minutes to up to an hour. It's typically a presentation given in the reception room of your practice. (There are some interesting alternatives suggested below.)
Your lecture will likely have three parts:
The Opening - This usually consists of a head-turning assertion. Or a fascinating fact. Or a beneficial promise to engage your audience. That is generally followed by the chiropractor's "story." That's how she discovered chiropractic and why she chose it as a career path. Remember, your presentation audience buys the messenger before the message!
The Body - This is the three, five or seven points you want to make. Odd numbers seem to work best for some reason. How many points you cover is based upon how long of a talk you'll be giving. Here are seven principles you might want to cover in your lecture:
- Chiropractic is different from medicine.
- Your nervous system controls everything.
- Stress can overload your nervous system.
- This can produce vertebral subluxation.
- A series of adjustments will be necessary.
- Adjustments do not treat your symptoms.
- You control the speed of your recovery.
Here's another approach for the body of your presentation. It covers the elements of health, concentrating on the seventh element dealing with nerve supply:
- Air - Most people don't breathe properly.
- Water - Most of us are not sufficiently hydrated.
- Food - Most people eat too much processed foods.
- Exercise - Most people sit all day and don't move enough.
- Rest - Most people don't get enough deep, restful sleep.
- Attitude - The mind/body connection is often overlooked.
- Nerve supply - The focus of chiropractic care.
You may want to design several different presentations. Perhaps a basic course and an advanced program.
The Closing - The third element is your call to action. What do you want the attendees of your lecture presentation to do next? You may want to invite your audience to begin care. Or urge a loved one to consider chiropractic or arrange a no-obligation consultation. The offer is typically made after a moving or inspirational closing story.
Do NOT end your presentation with fielding questions from the audience. This is a classic beginner's mistake. Nothing deflates the energy you've worked so hard to create then turning it over to your audience. Don't surrender it to those who may ask inappropriate questions or express skepticism. Worse, those who merely want to argue.
What to Call Your Chiropractic Presentations
You see the need to give some type of live presentation. Especially, with all the wrongheaded ideas about health and the misunderstandings surrounding chiropractic. But what should you call your talk?
How you refer to this presentation of yours can affect audience expectations, turnout and their experience. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Chiropractic Lecture - This sounds passive, even preachy.
Spinal Care Class - Yikes! Sounds like school. Is there homework too?
Chiropractic Presentation - This may be perceived as a sales event.
Chiropractic Workshop - Sounds like work.
Chiropractic Talk - This has a casual, interactive feel to it.
Chiropractic Seminar - Even though you've been to countless seminars, most patients haven't.
Or you could give your chiropractic presentation a name as if it were a film or stage play. Such as, The Astonishing Dr. You, What Dr. Frankenstein Forgot or The Vital Force.
Regardless of what you call it, make sure your audience doesn't leave empty-handed. Send everyone home with at least something. That could be a brochure about chiropractic. Answers to the Questions Patients Ask About Chiropractic. An sEMG scan, posture evaluation or some other piece of information.
Is your intent to enroll audience members as patients? Then make sure you have someone there to help you book appointments.
PowerPoint For Your Chiropractic Presentation
I've been using PowerPoint for over two decades to support my chiropractic seminars and speaking engagements. Whether you use PowerPoint, Prezi or Keynote from Apple, here are some pointers:
You're the star—not your slides. In the corporate world it's called "death by PowerPoint." Your audience has come to see you, not the slides you've created. Use your slide deck to merely support the points you're making.
Start with the right page size. These days the preferred format is widescreen 16:9. That works out to be 1920 pixels wide X 1080 pixels tall. If you're using an older LCD projector, you'll want to use the standard 4:3 size of 1024 pixels X 768 pixels.
Reduce the number of words per slide. A frequent PowerPoint mistake is to fill the screen with too many words. The expert at slide design is Garr Reynolds at presentationzen.com. He'll inspire you to bring Steve Jobs simplicity to your slides. As a rule of thumb, a slide should have no more than four or five points with six or seven words per point.
Use pictures. Your audience does not want to come to your talk to read. Look for stock photos that can illustrate your key points. Google: "free stock photos."
Dark background and light text. Speaking of what your audience wants, they don't want to stare at a bright screen. Instead, use a darker background with contrasting light-colored words. It's far easier on the eyes.
Avoid fancy transitions and animations. Don't draw attention to slide changes with fancy moves, spinning text or pixelated images. It's usually a confession that you think your message is weak. Stick to simple fades and cuts. Keep the focus on your message, not the medium you're using.
Avoid video and audio clips. When you add multi-media to your presentation you've increased its complexity. And the chance for something to go wrong. The audio isn't loud enough. Or it's too loud. The video won't roll. Or it won't start at the beginning of the clip. Uncooperative media has ruined far more presentations than it has ever helped.
Use the presenter view. It's show time! Make sure you know what the next slide is so you can make the conceptual transition elegantly.
Don't read your slides. Paraphrase, but please don't read the screen. Your audience can do that. And will. Either faster or slower than you.
10 Chiropractic Lay Lecture Tips
If you're going to explain chiropractic in a powerful and meaningful way, be mindful of these 10 points:
1. Attract your audience with benefits not features. Many chiropractors say they would give regular presentations if they could get people to attend. This is a marketing problem. Often, the program is promoted by using features. "We expect our newest patients to attend an orientation lecture. We do these on Wednesday evenings, and they run about 45 minutes. Can I put you down for next Wednesday?"
A better strategy is to explain the benefits of attending. In other words, what's in it for the patient. "This Wednesday the doctor is giving an entertaining talk for our newest patients. Those who attend report saving money, getting well faster and avoiding a relapse. It's a lot of fun. Can I put you down for next Wednesday?"
If patients can't attend, be prepared to offer an audio CD or link to your YouTube channel with your presentation.
2. Use props and visual aids. Just as you might use PowerPoint or lecture charts to support your talk, consider including props and visual aids. Obviously anatomical models belong in this category. But also consider a bowling ball (to demonstrate proper lifting and the effect of forward head carriage). A safety pin (to demonstrate the chiropractic safety pin cycle). The possibilities are endless.
3. Engage your audience. Ask for volunteers so you can demonstrate your leg length check. Intersperse your talk with multiple choice questions. Have audience members pair up to conduct posture checks. Break up your presentation with these natural interruptions. They provide the perfect time to field questions and monitor the interest of your audience.
4. It not about the size of your audience. Chiropractors attend state association seminars with hundreds of participants. They consider it a failure when only three or five people show up for their lecture. Or not worth the trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth. Getting even a handful of people to attend your lunchtime lecture or after-hours talk is a huge win. Especially these days. Remember, you're planting your flag so you can attract your unique tribe.
5. Give your talk consistently. I've been frequently asked if I get nervous before I give my talk. I reveal that being a little nervous can improve the quality of my talk. And the real danger is being too casual. Give your talk again and again and again and the butterflies in your stomach will start flying in formation.
6. Consider giving it on neutral territory. From time to time you might want to rent a meeting room down at the Marriott to give your talk. Experiment with charging for admission. Try using Eventbrite for registration. By taking it out of your practice and charging attendees you increase the perceived value of your lecture.
7. Add a guest speaker. If you're reluctant to carry the entire presentation, consider adding an additional speaker. Especially if you're doing a community event outside your practice. You probably know a dentist, naturopath, midwife, nutritionist or other natural healer who would love the exposure. It's a great way to educate and cross-fertilize patients and alert them to natural health principles.
8. Record your presentation. It's helpful to capture what you've said and how you've said it. That way you can review it and improve your presentation. Don't make a big production out of it. Just use your phone and record a long voice memo.
This reminds me of a doctor who recorded his report of findings. Listening back, he noticed that throughout his report he repeatedly asked his patient, "Okay?" to make sure the patient was understanding and following along. Only problem was he asked it 168 times during his 14-minute report! And he didn't know he was doing it.
9. Have fun. The old cliché that "it takes a lose arm to throw a fastball" is true. If you're not having fun, you can be sure your audience isn't either. The first step to having more fun is realizing that it's not about you. You're there to serve. Your audience wants you to be comfortable, humorous and interesting. They're pulling for you. Relax. Enjoy the ride.
10. Your presentation is as much for you as them. You may have heard the adage that "if you really want to know something, teach it." It's true. Your lay lecture is an amazing reminder for you. Hearing your own story will inspire you and remind you why you've chosen the hard, narrow path of chiropractic. By speaking your truth, it reinforces your purpose and passion. The fact that patients or prospective patients are exposed to it is merely a wonderful side effect.
Become a Chiropractic Speaker and Lecturer
Inviting new patients to attend your presentation is just the start. Ask your patients if they are members of a group or civic organizations that regularly has guest speakers. Let your patients know that accept speaking opportunities in your community.
Or obtain a list of the various civic groups and organizations in your community. Check with the Chamber of Commerce or the reference desk at the public library. Identify the name and address of individuals responsible for booking guest speakers. Send them a letter. Maybe something like this:
Dear (guest speaker booking person),
As you probably know, there's a growing interest these days in natural forms of health. Herbs, acupuncture, vitamin therapy, yoga and a host of other disciplines are gaining followers. What used to be considered "fringe" is now mainstream.
This change has produced the unwanted side effect of confusing many people about natural health alternatives. I think that's why my presentation, The Astonishing Dr. You has become so popular.
While I'm a chiropractor, the focus of this talk is about the integrity of the nervous system. My primary interest is in explaining the mastery of the nervous system in an informative and entertaining way. Is this the kind of talk your membership would appreciate?
I'd like the opportunity to explain my presentation in more detail. I've enclosed a little booklet that serves as an outline and preview of my talk.
Please let me know how I could best tailor my presentation to the needs and interests of your group.
I encourage you to master public speaking skills. Not only will it grow your practice, it will enhance every aspect of your life. Your self-confidence will soar, and your influence will grow. Besides beginning chiropractic care, speaking about chiropractic has been one of the most significant developments in my life. I suspect it will be for you as well.