Public Speaking: Converting Audience Members to Patients

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Neil Baum, MD

Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA

Author, Marketing Your Clinical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers


You have just given a talk to a lay audience; hopefully, you received a standing ovation; you stay after the presentation to answer questions. You go back to the office and check with the scheduler and no audience members have called for an appointment. This scenario, sans the standing ovation, is all too common.

What can you do to make the talks more fruitful and more productive? First, be sure to have a handout that contains your name, address, phone number and website to make it easy for audience members to contact your office for an appointment. Second, I suggest you collect e-mail addresses of the participants and send them and e-mail note immediately after the presentation thanking them for attending the program and provide them with additional educational material on the subject you discussed during your presentation.

Finally, I suggest you handout a survey and questionnaire that audience members can reply if they would like to be contacted by your office for an appointment. These forms are collected at the end of your program and given to the scheduler at the office who contacts those members of the audience who would like an appointment and quickly schedules the appointment. The process using this form has increased my conversion rate from 5% to 25%.

Bottom line: Giving a talk to the public can be a very rewarding activity and an effective way to increase the number of new patients.  I suggest using a post-presentation survey to collect the names and phone numbers of those audience members who would like to become part of your practice.