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Doctors: How to Build Your Personal Brand and Reputation in 30 Seconds

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Female doctor holding up a giant speech bubble above her headOccasionally, I get a little push-back from doctors who challenge my advice saying: “I don’t need an ‘elevator speech.’ Everyone knows who I am, I’m not pitching investors, and I’m not ‘networking.’ Besides, it sounds phony and I’d never use it.”

That's not from everyone, of course. Many professionals know about the "quick message" technique, and successful doctors use it several times each day. Done well, it’s natural sounding, immediately engaging and it often generates business. It's a brief info bite--a branding message that you control--which immediately tells people what you want them to know about you.

The fact is that, more than every before, doctors and other providers need to differentiate themselves—by personal brand and professional reputation—amid the intensely competitive world of healthcare delivery. The 30-second “elevator speech” is a golden opportunity to distinguish yourself, your profession, your practice or organization.

And, know it or not, ...yes you are “networking.” Everyone in business is networking. Doctors ARE the business in the mind of the public (consumers, prospective patients, patients). Presenting a quick and compelling verbal message is a key part of your branding effort, and memorable messages are often repeated by both patients and professional colleagues.

To a great extent a doctor’s personal brand is shaped by the message that is crafted and present. And, used frequently, a 30-second reputation-builder statement:

  • Connects you with people quickly,
  • Shares value, benefit and opportunity,
  • Piques interest,
  • Inspires referrals, and
  • Builds a positive image.

How to sell yourself in 30-seconds without sounding self-promoting…

  • First fundamental: Say why someone should care. The essential element of virtually all marketing is communicating value, benefit or resource to the audience. Understand their need. What’s meaningful to people is in knowing how they, the audience, can benefit.
  • The other first fundamental: How or why you are different and better. Differentiating yourself provides a clear choice; say something the competition can’t say. What is your unique sale proposition?
  • Watch your language. Be understandable; use words that are strong, clear, memorable and engaging.
  • Target your audience. You’ll likely need more than one version to match the listener, interests, circumstances and/or goal.
  • Provoke interest and a sense of wanting to know more.
  • Craft your speech carefully and thoughtfully.
  • Keep it simple and brief; 30 seconds is ideal; 60 seconds is max.
  • Focus. Stick to one primary (differentiating and beneficial) idea.
  • Use an attention getting or provocative opening.
  • Embrace specifics, not generics.
  • Stories, emotions and metaphors are memorable.
  • Inject genuine enthusiasm; it’s contagious.
  • Practice. Test. Revise. Practice.
  • Practice.
  • Practice.
  • Use it frequently and wear it comfortably.

Admittedly it’s a challenge to be clear, concise and memorable in a brief message. But it’s worth the time and effort to create, practice, perfect and use a message that is presented spontaneously and makes a lasting impression.

It is an underutilized, but highly effective, marketing tool—one that you control—to continually present your brand message and shape your professional reputation.

An additional resource is the previous Healthcare Success article titled, Sharing Value and Piquing Interest in 50 Words or Less that includes additional guidance and example messages.

Lori Waltz


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