Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to create an elevator pitch (part 2)

Author: Michelle Mudge-Riley, DO, MHA

How do you create your elevator pitch?

The hardest part for most of the doctors I work with is getting started by thinking about their “story”.  Not only is it hard to make the time and feel the energy it takes to get your creative juices flowing, but also to know exactly what to say and how to say it.  We all have lots of stories – things that have happened to us, times when we felt like a failure, times when what we did resulted in success despite all odds.  But then that little seed of doubt creeps in and we wonder, “Is this story even going to be interesting to someone else  - or does it just make me look like a jerk?”

Get past that.  Laugh about it.  Shake your head and realize, “it might,” and then write it down anyway.  You just need to get started.  You can revise it later or change it all together when you do remember that brilliant story with the right blend of humor, humility and substance.  Or maybe you’ll just shrug and remember that you’ll never have the “perfect” antidote; we are all human and that is reason we connect to stories in the first place.

As you build and practice your elevator pitch, here is a good acronym to keep in mind: S.U.C.C.E.S.

S:  Simplicity.  Start with one sentence that gets attention yet is simple.  This is the most important part because it grabs the listener’s attention.  That’s what you want.

U: Unexpected.  Keep the listener’s attention with something he or she might not expect.

C: Concrete.  Use relevant analogies or metaphors to bring things to life or to paint a picture in the listener’s mind.

C: Credible.  Use recent statistics or highlight your past outcomes and accomplishments to demonstrate you know what you are talking about.

E: Emotional connection.  Try to use stories and/or methods that speak to your listener because they involve things important to the listener (for example, if the listener has kids or likes to run, keep this in mind and relate it to what you are trying to say)

S: Stories.  Stories are a good way to keep that emotional connection and to keep the pitch interesting. 

About the author:

Dr. Mudge-Riley is a senior consultant for brokerage firms, health systems and large employers in wellness and health promotion and President of Physicians Helping Physicians in Richmond, Virginia.  She has spent the past seven years advising and coaching other doctors in their career by counseling physicians on business skills, assisting with compliance and risk management issues and mentoring in personal wellness and balance.  She has worked with hundreds of doctors and in various health systems located throughout the United States. To read more about Dr. Mudge-Riley, click here.

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