I got a chance to do a presentation skills program with a group of 16 doctors recently. They were actually specialists, including cardiologists, and the focus would be on facilitation skills--more on that below. It's always interesting teaching a group with this much education and power. Doctors, by their nature and titles, are accustomed to being praised and highly respected. Now they're sitting around a big table, raising their hands to ask questions and preparing to practice openings and closings, some of them nervously.
I'd heard the horror stories about their egos, and expected a hard time. One trainer told me one had a cell phone that was constantly going off. When she asked him about it, he challenged her--"I"m a doctor, and doctors are always on call." Another time, she said a doctor had almost run her out of the room, challenging her:"Why don't we just do a poll now, and see how everyone thinks you're doing?"
Ok, this sounds like fun.
But it turned out to go pretty smoothly.
The session started a little rough--I could almost see some of them looking at their watches, wondering if it was going to be worth their time. But I found that as soon as I could get them up and practicing, and interacting, their attitude improved. They seemed to enjoy practicing--and sparring--with each other (one practice has different doctors taking roles of problem-causing audience members--the challenger, the procrastinator, etc.)
As the session went on, I also tried to delve into their issues--look at the world from their eyes.