Anyone who watched the first presidential debate last week quickly realized what a difference effective communication skills can make!  We have all been there…  a presentation that didn’t go well, an interaction with a colleague where you felt you simply were not being heard, an interview where you struggled to explain your research in accessible language.  Often times HOW we communicate is just as important as the content of our message. 

With the years of training that go into our MD and PhD programs, it is surprising that we receive so little formal training on communication strategies.  Yet effective communication is an essential part of a career in academic medicine where we are expected to present at conferences, train students and residents, interact with donors and collaborate with colleagues from diverse areas of expertise.  As described on the AAMC Leadership Lesson –  Train a Powerful Voice:

 “One of the most powerful leadership tools you can have is effective communication skills. The most powerful communications connect with personal experience and deliver new information to change thinking and behavior.  The most powerful communications engage voice, body language and content. Which is the most important component in getting your message across?—Not content! Studies in media messaging show that body language contributes to over 50% of the message, voice tone to a little under 40%, and content of the message is attributed to less than 10% of what listeners remember about a presentation. Does that mean we should disregard the content?—Absolutely not! Our academic credibility relies on expert content. But if we want to get our messages across as leaders, we had better pay attention to the total package.”

The good news is that communication skills are something that can be acquired.  WIMHS and The Office of Student and Resident Diversity will be offering a workshop to improve communication skills on October 22nd.

Speaking for Success Workshop – Monday, October 22nd, 9:00am-noon (Marriott Camellia Room)

Presented by:  Susan Miller, PhD & Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer, PhD

Register online by October 16th at:  https://somapp.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/OfficeDiversity/Courses/index.cfm

By the end of training, participants will be able to:           

  • Immediately gain their listener’s trust through honest, engaging body language.
  • Project their voices easily so that they are easily heard by audiences.
  • Alter pausing, inflection, emphasis, pitch, vocal intensity, and phrasing so that they can inspire, motivate, educate and persuade their listeners. 
  • Speak clearly and distinctly so that they are readily understood by listeners.
  • Present effective meaningful messages to individuals and groups.
  • Remain focused and relaxed when interruptions and errors occur. 

Who wouldn’t benefit from improving communication skills?  Please join us on the 22nd  or share some of your own tips for improving communication skills by posting comments below.