Improving Oratory Skills: An "American Idol" Presentation Competition for Residents.
Background It is essential for physicians to master the ability to deliver high-quality oral presentations. Despite this, little time is dedicated throughout residency for training and refining this important skill. In order to solve this issue, we set out to design and implement a course which will improve the oratory skills of the resident physicians. Methods Senior surgical residents (postgraduate years three and four) were involved in a single-elimination tournament with the audience voting for the top presenters. Faculty provided feedback on oration, slide layout and overall presentation format throughout the course. Baseline and post-course survey responses were evaluated to assess a change in presentation skills after the "oratory course". Results Seven senior residents participated as competitors. Seventeen other junior and chief residents (postgraduate years 1, 2 and 5) were involved as audience members along with several attending physicians, physician assistants and medical students. Both the presenters and audience appreciated a statistically significant improvement in communication skills and slide layout (p < 0.01). Conclusion The use of a structured course in public speaking and presentation skills proved to be effective in developing oratory skills in surgical residents when used in conjunction with an entertaining format.