What's your elevator speech?
What's your elevator speech? It is very important to be able to articulate in a few succint words who you are and what you. Most of us have heard the term elevator speech before. But if you haven't, it is a short description of who you are, what you do, or the important argument you wish to make to a decision maker-all presented in the time it takes for an elevator ride.
How did this term originate? Well in most organizations it might be difficult to get an appointment with upper management or someone who can make a difference in your career. However we sometimes run into that important person in an elevator.
Generally people who share an elevator ride avoid speaking or making eye contact. Sometimes they will make small talk about the weather and might even ask "What do you do?" or "What department do you work in?" In any event during that brief encounter you have a captive audience and can tell your story effectively. But you must be ready.
As laboratorians we have an especially difficult time explaining what we do. We sometimes mention "working in the lab," or "doing lab work". Neither phrase explains who we are, what skills we use and how important our role is.
My friend and colleague, Sheri Gon, a professor at the University of Hawaii, recently shared with me that her elevator speech is "Medical Laboratory Scientists take the guesswork out of medicine." That says quite a lot in just a few words, doesn't it?
Another good one I have heard is something along the lines of "I am a medical lab scientist. I analyze patient specimens to provide vital information the physician uses to diagnose and treat a disease. In fact, over 70 percent of medical decisions are based on the information my colleagues and I provide."
If you were a curious bystander, family member or friend wouldn't you want to hear more?
It could be that you want to pitch an idea to an administrator or other decision-maker about some new perk for the laboratory. Already predisposed to cost savings and being petitioned by many departments competing for his attention and funds, he needs to hear in a few sentences why he should expend time and resources on you and your colleagues.
Whether you want to sell yourself, brand yourself, pitch an idea or simply educate, make sure you have your elevator speech prepared and ready to go. Your future might well depend on it.