Mentor Advice ForumWhat Makes a Great Continuing Education Speaker?
guestuser Staff asked 1 year ago

I am interested in an education career after graduating from Farmingdale State College with a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. I was always interested in continuing education seminars and loved to talk to speakers after the session. I admire people who help us dental professionals to be motivated and educated as well as to help us grow professionally. My question is: What are the qualities to be great speaker in that field? What would you recommend to concentrate on?

6 Answers
Lillian J. Caperila, RDH, MEd Staff answered 1 year ago

I have been a professional speaker/lecturer for over 20 years. Let me explain how I grew into this role. Initially, I experienced well over 18 years as a dental hygiene clinician. (this built my expertise in the topics I focus on when speaking)

My original aspiration before going into dental hygiene was to be a teacher. After I worked 8 years in clinical practice, I enrolled in a bachelor’s degree (post certificate) in dental hygiene education at Thomas Jefferson University. If you have already attained your bachelor’s degree, but haven’t had any courses in education, or adult education, that would be a recommendation. I was very fortunate that my education TRACK at Jefferson provided wonderful experiences both in class activities as well as experimenting my teaching skills at the local level of my hygiene association meetings.

After teaching part time while still working in clinical practice, I knew I wanted to teach DH students on a full time basis. I did teach for 7 years while I worked on completing my Master’s degree in Education in the evenings. My movement from teaching academically to corporate education was merely a RISK and CHALLENGE I chose to make and never regretted it.

The important steps I took that helped me grow as a professional educator were:
• Researched topics of interest to me and frame out a storyboard for
lecture flow.
• PRACTICE makes PERFECT! The greater number of programs I delivered – sharpened my skills in Power Point, audience interactions, and handling questions from an audience.
• I observed the skills of others who I admired as lecturers
• I am still learning from others, experienced and novice speaker, since the next generation of speakers are from a high tech/social media world which teaches me to adapt to the changing audience I face daily.

Last Point: if there are any workshops or retreats provided that you can participate in, do it. Interaction with others with like interests can build skills together and learn from each other. There is a group of talented hygienists who are planning to run a leadership retreat 2-3 x a year. First one is scheduled May 20-23 in Virginia. Check it out! Link: