Week 46 – Physicians are humans too – and some even have ZAMitude!

Over the past ten years,  I’ve presented to thousands of people from hundreds of organizations, representing different levels of the organization.  However, recently, I did my first presentation to a group where 100% of the participants were “providers” – doctors, PA’s, nurses.  At first I didn’t think anything of it.  Then, I decided to do a little research. I interviewed several VERY successful presenters who have spoken to hundreds of providers over the past 25 years.  Both of them said providers do not have senses of humor and that since their time is so precious, they expect to be informed, not entertained.
            Anyone who has ever attended one of my presentations knows that my “style” is extremely animated and entertaining. I like to get my audience engaged and involved right from the start.  This, I was told, was not going to work with providers.  I was told to “tone down” my energy so as not to offend anybody.  Naturally I was concerned.  How can I present in a style that is not genuine to my personality?  Will they truly “get” my message?  Will I be believable?
          These were the thoughts going through my mind as I began the 90 minute presentation.  I began with a serious statement and proceeded to go through the content explaining point after point.  The participants looked bored and uninterested.  About a third of the way through I had them do a group exercise.  This gave me a second to reconsider my approach.  This serious information dumping style wasn’t working.  Couldn’t I bring back a little of me and see what happens? I decided to give it a try.  A funny thing happened.  Once I brought back my style – appropriate for the group, of course – they started to open up and get involved.  We even had a few moments of laughter – imagine that!  The rest of the workshop proceeded nicely and their evaluations were very positive. 
         This experience taught me a very valuable lesson:  although I can adapt my style to different situations, I can’t change it entirely.  Otherwise the message won’t be authentic to me or the audience AND it sure wouldn’t exhibit ZAMitude!

Z-Tip:  It’s ok to get advice from people and to adapt, but don’t forget who you are in the process!!!!

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