According to most studies, public speaking is people’s number one fear, putting it ahead of death. That means at a typical funeral, most people would be less comfortable giving the eulogy than being in the casket. Yet, we believe that public speaking is a great way to build your practice and become known as “THE” dental practice in your community. Local groups are always looking for speakers. Health symposiums, senior expos, elementary schools…the list goes on and on. You can even put on your own “free dinner” seminars for the community. The great thing is, dental talks usually have such great Q & A sessions that you don’t even need that much material. So develop an interesting fifteen minute talk on the topic of your choice (implants, smile makeovers, the risks and benefits of retraction cord, etc.), and get a few gigs! Start small, and if you are unsure how to go about this, join a local Toastmaster’s group. They will give you some great tips on how to make it happen. But when you start doing this – PLEASE don’t make the number one mistake of inexperienced speakers!!! What is that mistake? Starting your speech with something like: “I’m not a professional speaker…..” Or “I’ve never spoken in public before…” Or “I’m really nervous…” You may think it disarms the crowd and prepares them for the worst. And maybe in some way it does. But what it really does is make them think they are about to hear a total amateur, or that they wasted their evening when they could have been doing something else. Don’t do it!! Think of it this way. You have tickets to see one of your favorite musical groups, and the opening act is someone you have never heard of. Will your impression be more favorable if they come out acting like a total pro, or if they say “I really don’t know how to plug in my guitar?” We know you may be nervous, but be a professional – please don’t make the number one speaker mistake!