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Dr. Steven Edelman Part 4, Giving the Best Presentation For Retention of Data

Dr. Steven Edelman talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA 77th Scientific Session in San Diego about the making of a good presentation.

Dr. Steven Edelman, Founder, Director, and Chairman of the Board of the nonprofit organization Taking Control of Your Diabetes, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of California, San Diego and the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System of San Diego. He is also a 10-time winner of the San Diego Magazine Top Doctors in San Diego Award.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve Freed:  You’ve been very successful in treating patients and educating other medical professionals. I saw a program recently on Ted Talks, “What Makes a Good Presenter”. I was at one of your presentations and I fell in love with it. I wanted all your slides which you refused to give me.

Dr. Edelman: You know what makes a good presenter? That’s a good question.

Steve Freed: This is what they said. A good presenter has his PowerPoint presentation and he presents it and has 150 slides and people walk out and they don’t remember a thing. What makes a good presenter is that you provide some information, they take that information and they use it in their practice. That is what makes a good presenter. Now your time isn’t wasted, otherwise your time is completely wasted and you shouldn’t even be there. So what do you do when you do the TCOYD presentations? What points are you trying to get across to people that they can take home, that you feel is most important for patients and then the same thing for PCPs?

Dr. Edelman: It’s the same strategy. I just want to say that just because someone remembers something to use in practice doesn’t mean it was a good presentation. It was good in the fact that it had good information and they used that in practice. But I think a good presentation to me is something that you have made such an impression on somebody, they don’t forget what you said. Hopefully, they said something good and you can use it in practice. You could have a great presentation with lousy information. It’s a small distinction. I would say this, that, my strategy is this. I think, not to have too many slides, not to have text heavy slides but to create some type of emotion during your presentation. You have humor. Humor is key, Steve. Not just an out in left field joke that has nothing to do with the content. The joke has to relate to the content. That’s what I spend a lot of time on is making my talks funny. Not the whole, it’s not a comedy routine, but I mix it up in there. Then you want to bring people through a range of emotions. You want to show them something that is quite sad, serious, side effects, death, but not just throw it in there to cause them to go home, “oh my gosh.” You want to bring them from laughter to serious. You want to not have too many difficult messages and then at the end, have some good take home points.

Steve Freed: So what take home points would you like when you do a presentation to medical professionals, PCPs, pharmacists, nurses, dietitians. What message do you want them to walk away with to make a difference in the way they treat their patients?

Dr. Edelman:  I want them to walk away with this concept that there really are no patients that do not want to live a long and healthy life but they have barriers. I’m talking about type 2 a little bit here now. You have to sort of realize that when they come in, they haven’t lost any weight, they don’t bring their meter, they forgot it again, they didn’t refill their prescriptions, that instead of saying “You son of a gun, noncompliant patient, I don’t want to take care of you. You got heavy, it’s your fault.” I want them to say “gosh, this person has barriers. Let’s change my strategy of a perfunctory, formal H and P so I can get all the billing levels, but just start with an open-ended question.” Say, “Hey, Steve, your glucose control is really difficult. I know you’re having a hard time. What’s the hardest thing for you?” And then you have to listen and then you’re going to find out what’s going on. Bring a family member too, because then you’re going to learn a whole new level of information. So, it’s really having empathy and asking patients open-ended questions and then just listening and you’re going to find out what’s going on.

Steve Freed: I did a presentation at a physician’s office to their staff. One of theirs just started crying, right away. I said, “What did I say?” It was about grandkids and the importance of having a good quality of life with your friends and family. She said that she had diabetes and she wasn’t really being proactive with it and she’s got 6 grandkids she’d like to be around.

Dr. Edelman: That’s good motivation.

Steve Freed: I find that motivating people about quality of life issues, family and friends, that’s what life is all about. It’s not about making a huge amount of money, although that certainly helps, but it’s really about your personal life that really will make you a happier person. Humor certainly plays an important role also. I remember during your presentation that I saw, when you were in Chicago, that you had some funny slides.

Dr. Edelman: You know what, you ought to come to a new one, because I got some new material. I was going to say one other thing. I’m a big believer that humor leads to information retention, which as you suggested that’s a good talk if you can remember something. We all remember our undergraduate, graduate training, nothing worse than a boring lecturer. You don’t remember a gosh darn thing.

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