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Getting Your Message Across To Healthcare Specialists: Public Speaking Basics. Ellen R. Cohn PhD University of Pittsburgh. About the Author.

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getting your message across to healthcare specialists public speaking basics

Getting YourMessage Across To Healthcare Specialists: Public Speaking Basics

Ellen R. Cohn PhD

University of Pittsburgh

about the author
About the Author

Ellen Cohn PhD is Director of Instructional Development at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, with a secondary appointment in the School of Pharmacy. She has taught introductory classes in public speaking for over a decade.


Most healthcare professionals will need to engage in some public speaking. This presentation presents basic concepts for the beginning speaker.

basic communication axioms
Basic Communication Axioms
  • Communication is Dynamic
    • Meaning is mutually constructed
  • 90+% of Communication Is Non-verbal
  • Communication is Irreversible
    • We can’t take back communication
  • We Cannot, Not Communicate
    • Silence and inaction both communicate
  • Communication Ain’t Perfect
    • It is difficult to achieve total understanding
    • We need to anticipate and correct errors
lack of clarity miscommunication
Lack of Clarity= Miscommunication

I really didn’t sayeverything I said.

Yogi Berra

misperception miscommunication

The major problem in communication is the illusion that it has occurred.

Albert Einstein

misunderstanding miscommunication

There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear.

William James

why messages don t get through
Why Messages Don’t“Get Through”
  • Hearing does not equal listening
  • There several different types of noise:
    • Physical (e.g., listener has a migraine headache)
    • Psychological (e.g., listener is preoccupied or upset)
    • Environmental (e.g., loud music or talking)
    • Semantic (e.g. an inflammatory word distracts the audience and reduces the speaker’s credibility)
message penetration varies
Message Penetration Varies
  • The message is sensed (heard or seen) but not understood
  • The message is misperceived
  • The meaning is accurately perceived
  • The message is remembered
  • The message changes attitudes and behaviors (the goal!)
good listening is your most important communication skill
Good Listening Is Your Most Important Communication Skill
  • Listen to “Your Gut”
    • Do parts of your presentationmake you uneasy?
      • This often signals an organizational problem
  • Listen to your audience
    • Especially to their non-verbal cues
  • Listen to the emotional tone
la rochefoucauld

The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more about what he intends to say than about what othersare saying.

La Rochefoucauld

the three basics needs messages communication
The Three Basics: Needs, Messages, Communication
  • Understand your audience
    • Their needs
    • Their expectations
  • Send clear messages
    • Identify the desired outcomes of your talk
  • Communicate directly
    • “Connect” with your audience by your words and actions (e.g., eye contact, voice, posture, gestures)
superior speakers analyze the audience
Superior Speakers Analyze the Audience
  • Who will be in the audience?
  • What do I want the audience to:
    • Know?
    • Believe?
    • Do?
  • How is the audience responding?
    • How do I adapt?
visualize your audience
Visualize Your Audience
  • Why will they be in attendance?
  • What do they already know?
    • Do they have biases or misinformation?
    • What do they think they need to know?
    • What worries them?
  • What is the general mood?
    • Friendly, hostile, neutral….
  • How will they feel about yoursubject matter?
    • Interested, bored, nervous, confident…

Many of the communication difficulties between persons are the by-product of communication barrierswithin the person.

Abraham H. Maslow

audience members have basic human needs
Audience Members HaveBasic Human Needs
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
    • Physiologic
    • Safety
    • Love and Belongedness
    • Esteem
    • Self-actualization
basic audience need physiologic
Basic Audience Need: Physiologic
  • These include:
    • Oxygen, Water, Food, Habitable Temperature, Sleep, Conditions and Behaviors Which Perpetuate the Species
  • A hot, tired, or hungry audience may not fully absorb your presentation
  • Consider how your messages will help the audience achieve their needs
basic audience need safety
Basic Audience Need: Safety
  • There are two types of safety:
    • Physical Safety
    • Psychological Safety
      • Will audience members feel humiliated?
      • Do they feel safe trusting your expertise?
      • The speaker should therefore aim to establish credibility and put the audience at ease
  • The bottom line: How will your presentation impact upon their perceived safety?
what makes a speaker credible
What Makes a Speaker Credible?
  • Confidence, intellect, knowledgeand experience
  • Credible associations
    • Use endorsements
    • Cite credible sources
  • Trustworthiness
    • Disclose conflicts of interests
    • Employ a balanced and fair approach to the topic
  • High standards and intellectual honesty
    • A credible speaker admits to not knowing
employ ethical communication
Employ Ethical Communication
  • Provide complete information
    • So that… the listener can consider all options and make a fully informed decision
  • Verify that the message is received
    • Does the audience truly understand the content of your speech?
  • Use credible sources
    • Provide truthful and accurate information
if you always tell the truth you don t have anything to remember

If you always tell the truthyou don’t have anythingto remember.

Dick Motta

Coach, Chicago Bulls

jenkin lloyd jones

A speech is a solemn responsibility.The man who makes a bad 30-minute speech to 200 people wastes onlya half-hour of his own time.But he wastes 100 hours of the audience’s time--more than four days--which should be a hanging offense.

Jenkin Lloyd Jones