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Deciding What to Share When Educating

I’m preparing for two upcoming conferences where I will be presenting.  The first is a conference for Christian midwives where I will be providing a clinical update on menopause.  The second is a conference for nurse midwives where I will present a poster of my original research. As I finalize my work for these two events, I can’t help but notice the similarities between educating my clients, and educating my peers.

You see, the natural instinct is to basically vomit out all the information you have.  Everything you’ve ever read or heard is weighted equally without any regard to who the audience is.  This tends to be very long and boring for the listener (trust me, I’ve sat through many really bad student presentations over the last four years).

If you want to really do the best job of sharing information, you need to do a lot of work to determine what needs to be shared, and when.  What do I mean?

For example, in the clinical update on menopause I could go deep into the endocrine changes and types of testing available.  But since this is a group of midwives who are not infertility specialists, this information is only relevant enough for them to understand that if a client says they had a particular test they know how to find out what that test is.  What is relevant is the information women will want from the midwives, and the ways the midwives can help them get that information.  For example, we’ll be spending a lot of time talking about menstrual cycles and how they can be used to track progress through the menopause transition.  his information help women determine how much longer they probably have to achieve a pregnancy, when they can expect symptoms to subside, and when they can expect that final period.

Next time you are working with your clients, think about what information they really are looking for to make decisions.  Make a list of the key things to share and don’t bring up the rest unless they ask.  It will save time on your visit and make the clients more likely to listen to everything you have to share with them.

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