Speaking to Assisted Living Residents
In the past few weeks
I’ve given several presentations to Assisted Living folks.
These presentations required extra preparation. Though my main
goal was to share information, entertaining was also goal, and
it’s an important one. As I’ve discovered, these
days you have to entertain in order to educate.
Are you a speaker? Do
you speak to retirement community folks and Assisted Living
folks? These tips will help audience members “get”
your message and remember it.
loss. I’ve learned how to project my voice and
was just about to start my talk when a staff person entered
the room. “They will never hear you. Use the microphone,”
she said firmly. Since I wear two hearing aids myself, I took
Ask people to
move closer. One presentation was scheduled in a large
hall that could hold 100 people or so. To my dismay, some attendees
sat at the back and several sat on the sides. To foster a group
feeling, I asked these people to move closer. “This isn’t
church,” I joked, “and I’m not going to take
Ignore the podium.
I gave one presentation in a chapel. Unfortunately, the podium
was far away from the audience, too far, in my opinion. Instead
of using the podium, I put a piano bench close to the audience
members to get their attention and make eye contact.
handouts. After attending a talk or demonstration,
Assisted Living folks like to discuss the experience. Giving
them handouts fosters discussion and helps them recall the key
points of my presentation. If I have several handouts, I color
code them. I put my website address on every handout.
people remember. Statistics can be meaningful, but
they can also be boring. When I tell personal stories, however,
stories that make people laugh, they are more apt to remember
the point the story illustrates. Personal stores also show I
know what I’m talking about and am someone who has “walked
One talk was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon, a time
when Assisted Living residents may be sleepy or thinking about
dinner. A woman in front of me kept nodding off. To wake her
up, I switched the order of my presentation, and passed around
books I had written. Switching gears seemed to awaken everyone
in the group.
Ask for comments.
Instead of asking for questions, I ask for comments. The question,
“Have you had a similar experience?” may spark audience
participation. Sometimes I get comments and other times I don’t.
If I don’t get any comments, I thank people for coming
to the talk and say something like, “I’ve enjoyed
my time with you today.”
While speaking to Assisted
Living residents can be challenging, it is also rewarding, and
I always learn something. “Thank you, thank you, thank
you,” a woman said. Her gratefulness touched my heart
and I was glad I had spoken to the group.
Copyright © 2012
by Harriet Hodgson
- Article by Harriet
Hodgson exclusively for Assisted Living Directory
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