“Well, I think the main message is there is more to your story…” – Max Lucado
Is there something you care about in your practice? Are you eager to convince your administration that students need and deserve adequate staffing in the Health Office? Do you want your state senator or assembly person to support RN to BSN legislation? Is there a parent who has been hesitant to fully immunize his child? Does your student fail to adhere to her Asthma Acton Plan? How do you gain the support of important stakeholders?
Although the opening quote is taken out of context, it describes perfectly what School Nurses need to know about initiating communication. In the early days of the internet it became known as the “elevator speech” based on the notion that you should be able to deliver your message in the amount of time you might spend with someone in an elevator. In other words – not long. Thirty seconds to three minutes is suggested. With the advent of Twitter and its 140 character limit, the “elevator speech” gained an additional method of delivery.
Whether you are adept at using social media or you prefer personal contact, follow the lead of Steve Jobs who reportedly packed every powerful pitch into 140 characters. … iPod: “1,000 songs in your pocket.” MacBook Air: “The world’s thinnest notebook.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2013/03/26/six-simple-and-irresistible-alternatives-to-the-elevator-pitch/#1b1ffa2378ec
In essence, you don’t need to “clinch the deal.” You need to instantly, creatively capture the interest of the person you are communicating with. Identify a specific problem, even a specific population affected by this problem. Briefly share the existence of a possible solution you would be glad to share when time permits.
Know what you want to achieve (your goal) and creatively, concisely peak the listener’s interest so that (s)he will become interested in working with you. Remember, nothing can replace your authentic voice so make an effort to develop your own “Elevator Speech.”
There are many articles on the internet but The New York State Center for School Health has this sample from which to develop an effective Elevator Speech: http://www.schoolhealthny.com/files/filesystem/Sample%20Elevator%20Speech%20School%20Breakfast.pdf
Carol Bumbolow MSN, BA, RN