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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Public Speaking

Published August 7, 2014 3:22 PM by Lisa Mueller

This week, I'll be giving a presentation to half of our company about a recent continuous improvement project I've worked on. We are just weeks away from our project being implemented, and many of my coworkers who haven't been involved in the project don't know what to expect (rightfully so -- their focus is patient care!).

I've been involved in much of the preparations and will be presenting with one of our regional medical directors. Our presentation materials content includes a project overview, how the project will impact our medical clinics, things to prepare in advance and a reminder of some policies and procedures for our organization.

I'm nervous. When I taught a continuing education course regarding physical therapy in intensive care units, I wasn't nervous at all. The difference here is that continuous improvement is somewhat new to me, whereas physical therapy in acute care was something I knew inside and out. I knew the pathologies, treatments and research. This is different -- I don't know the content as well as I do physical therapy.

Part of my preparation this week is to review my continuous improvement training materials, books and articles, as well as my presentation notes to feel more comfortable. To me, knowing the content is very important to being an effective presenter; although I've known several people who have taught me a lot even though they weren't subject matter experts on a topic.

A coworker of mine was kind enough to sit with me for an hour, reviewing notes she took at a public speaking seminar. She reminded me of points like keeping my arms at my side and maintaining eye contact with an audience member for the length of the sentence as I speak. I probably wouldn't have given much thought to these tips, but I know the little things matter as much as the big things to some listeners.

So I bought a new skirt and will attempt to wear high heels for the presentation, which I need to practice wearing in the next day or two. I'm excited for the opportunity to teach my colleagues about this exciting part of our company -- making improvements!

What about you? Have you ever spoken to a large audience? How did you prepare? Do you wish you would have done something differently? Have you received feedback from speaking to your team or department?

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Conquer the Fear

Before you step up to the podium, try these relaxation exercises.


I teach my course once a month.  I have an entire "teaching wardrobe".  I don't worry about that class because I've taught it so many times.  When I present something different I read it over several times.  I print a copy and make notes on what I want to mention for that slide.  I've seen some speakers carry those notes with them.

Don't worry.  You'll do great.  That you're worrying about it tells me you'll be prepared.

Toni August 10, 2014 4:56 PM

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