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The Presentation Series (Prologue)

June 27, 2021
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

The best internists are master communicators. Like magicians, they transform tangled narratives and heaps of data into lucid presentations.

Like elite athletes and musicians, master communicators make it look easy, but there’s nothing easy, natural, or intuitive about presenting well. Even the best internists—those with years of experience—tweak their presentations to make them even better.

All forms of effective communication are built upon core structures. Good news articles depend on compelling ledes, key facts, and evocative stories. Persuasive op-eds have central arguments, convincing evidence, and fresh perspectives. Effective medical presentations are no different: they have their own core structures, including cogent narratives, curated data, rational assessments, and clear plans. None of these structures are arbitrary: they've evolved into the forms we recognize because they work.

As internists, we spend most of our days communicating: calling consults, speaking with patients, presenting on rounds, and writing notes. Sadly, bad communication is rampant, and too much of what we read and hear is long, chaotic, tedious, and forgettable. But we can all become master communicators, creating presentations that are concise, fluent, organized, and vital to patient care.

For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting serial installments of “The Presentation Series,” beginning next Sunday with “The Chief Concern.”

Enjoy your day, everyone. I'm going on a long bike ride before tackling my own writing challenge: 30+ letters of recommendation for fellowship.

Take care,


PS- With my brother, Myron, yesterday, at Citi Field (the Mets won, 4-3):


Submitted by Mark David Siegel on June 27, 2021