Preconference Skills Course
Speaking skills are crucial for effective communication, yet few academic programs provide such training. People fear speaking in public, yet physicians often have no choice but to present cases or to give lectures. At it’s most severe; the fear of speaking in public is a form of social phobia. Effective communication in formal lectures, impromptu lectures, and especially during case presentations, requires the individual learn specific skills, which dramatically enhance the quality of the presentation and reduce the anxiety that accompanies such events. In order to obtain speaking skills the individual must allow others to observe them speaking and gain a perspective on how others perceive them. This course will address the acquisition of the skills that lead to high quality presenting in different situations. Understanding how body language, voice modulation/volume, the use of connectors/fillers such as “um, and, so, like,” and techniques that enhance or distract from engagement of the audience will be addressed. A presentation filled with “um’s” conveys an impression of insecurity to the listener. Creating an “inner ear” that stops the use of the connector, and understanding how to accomplish that, dramatically changes the quality of any presentation. The course will start with a didactic component of a formal lecture and a video of one of the faculty before speaker training. Following a brief Q&A each participant will speak in front of the entire group in three separate modules. Each presentation will be recorded on the phone of the presenter for review after the course. The three modules will be (1) a presentation of a single slide, (2) presentation of several slides to focus on transitions when lecturing, and (3) a case presentation (which will be done in small groups). Following the first two modules of presentation to the entire group, the participants will work in small groups with the faculty to focus on each person’s particular areas of skill acquisition in a non-judgmental way. The case presentation, not typically done in front of a large audience, will be practiced and critiqued in the small group setting. Every participant will have the opportunity to receive individual and focused critique from the faculty and from colleagues. No criticism will be permitted. This creates an atmosphere of safety in which the participants can obtain the skills of speaking.
Prior to the course each participant will receive slides and case material that will be presented during the course. In order to provide the most effective small group experience, the course will be limited to 30 participants.