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What I Learned This Year About The Best Healthcare Presentations

For the first half of this year, I attended many healthcare conferences and watched many healthcare presentations made by all types of organizations from consultants, pharmaceutical companies and health systems, to government entities, healthcare management groups and start-ups. My goal was self-education on healthcare, but in the end, I learned a lot about what makes a presentation great, interests audiences the most and generates the most follow-up.

Recently, I was asked to speak to a company’s executive officers about creating presentations. I was going to be leading a communications planning workshop. We would be developing a keynote presentation to communicate a new, integrated value proposition across their strategic business units. My client asked if I could kick off the session with a few words about “what great looks like” when it comes to presentations. Coming off six months of conferences, I had a lot to share in the way of best practices. In preparation, I also polled some colleagues to get their thoughts. Together, we estimate, that we attended 20 conferences. This is what we learned:

The Components of the Best Healthcare Presentations

The best healthcare presentations include six elements:

  1. New Data

  2. Dialogue

  3. Digestible information

  4. New insight

  5. They speak to audience needs

  6. And call for follow-up


To illustrate how these elements translate into an actual presentation, I’m going to quote a colleague’s detailed description of a presentation that she praised as “the best about healthcare in five years.” She said it:

  • Referenced multiple healthcare trends and presented the threats

  • Stated what the presenting company was doing to stem failure

  • Engaged the audience by proposing solutions but required follow-up to learn about tactics

  • Used a chat format and was pictorial


She said this session kept the room packed and at attention as the last presentation on the last day of the conference. She liked it for its:

  1. Fire-side chat format:  two people sitting in chairs talking with each other and addressing the audience

  2. Use of one slide: illustration of the perils and roads-to-success that served as the reference point for the entire conversation

  3. Discussion that referenced multiple healthcare trends where the market could and had gone off the rails, then explained why and what the presenting company was doing and thinking about to help stem the tide of failure

The Goal is to Combine Ease and Engagement to Create the Best Healthcare Presentations

The audience did not have to sit through 20 slides of bullet point after bullet point. They had to take notes and be engaged to get the content and ideas. There were no slides or handouts. They had to follow-up with the presenting company if they wanted tactical solutions. Finally, to add to my colleague’s thoughts, I observed that the better presentations of the year were also built for social sharing and overcame information overload in the marketplace. The presenters shrewdly provided content ready for Tweets and Instagram posts, but also, cognizant of new information consumption patterns in the digital age, gave people just enough of what they needed to inspire them to follow-up on their distinct areas of interest.


For more information contact Betsy Neville

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