What would you say if you were speaking to a room full of dental students? I’ll be speaking to student dentists in November at the American Student Dentist Association Leadership Conference in Chicago. Dental students from all over the US will be attending and I will be speaking on ways to make an associateship successful. I am eager to make the most of this fabulous opportunity to speak to students soon to be launched into the world of professional practice! I had a long discussion with my own coach (yes, coaches have coaches – and mine is superlative. Dr. Ron Arndt is a former dentist, now Master Certified Coach. He is a mentor extraordinaire!). We spoke about the kinds of information and advice a dental student would find useful, and between us, we decided that a ‘coach approach’ would be the most meaningful hour I could possibly give my audience.
What is a ‘coach approach’, I hear you asking? Well, it is the antithesis of a lecture! It is ascertaining the immediate needs and concerns of the people in the room in which I am speaking – and then basing the entire workshop around those needs. It is ensuring that the students who walk out of my workshop will be feeling that they have had pressing concerns addressed and have some clear plans to move forward.
How am I going to create that atmosphere ‘on the fly’? Well, it’s going to be a challenge, and yet really no different from the coach-approach I would take with any of my clients one-on-one. Here are the basic ingredients:
- Asking questions to find out what the pressing issues are.
- Making no assumptions or judgements beforehand about what those needs might be .
- Through discussion, discovering what the main obstacles are to moving forward and opening new pathways of thought (seeing a broader perspective).
- Not being the expert; focussing on drawing out answers rather than having them all.
- Not having an agenda of my own.
That’s really it. I plan to have a very simple slide presentation and lots of information in handouts for my students to study after this workshop, as well as a reading list. I am excited about the prospect of holding this kind of workshop because the main objective is for my listeners to walk out feeling as though they really got incredible value and something changed because of the workshop. One of my mentors, public speaking coach and motivator, Darren LaCroix, says that when listeners are still thinking about your words three days after your presentation and make different decisions because of it, you know you have really made contact. That is a coach approach and I am champing at the bit to get to Chicago and make a difference!