Recommendation 1: Practice, Practice, Practice! Do so out loud, do so until you dream it. When you need to use it you'll have it versus remembering it after the elevator doors close.
Recommendation 2: Keep it brief, but don't be afraid to get animated about what you do! If you're excited by what you do it becomes more exciting to hear: even the dullest Librarian story is better when there's enthusiasm behind it.
Recommendation 3: Try and relate it to your audience's world. If they're clinical, give them your clinical speech, if they're admin, give them your admin quip!
This section is dedicated to quickly speaking to your value as a professional, a service or a department, using tools like Value Quips or Elevator Speeches.
What's a Value Quip/Elevator Speech?
They're actually two slightly different things:
A Value Quip can be defined as a short and sweet blurb about how you, your profession, or your department adds value to the organization
An Elevator Speech or Elevator Pitch is more about a quick and succinct summary of what you do ideally short enough that it could fit in an elevator ride. Keeping it short is an additional must for Librarians to avoid the glazed over look from listeners that happens shortly after almost any attempt to tell someone 'what we do'. If you can make it interesting or even funny to non-Librarians, you might as well go put your feet up for the rest of the day as you've likely achieved the elusive and coveted 'normalization' of our profession.
Feel like this when someone asks what you do?
Want to feel like this instead?
Instead of trying to tell the whole story, tell a portion! Tell them:
"Well since I only have you for a moment I'll give you just one of the many wonderful things I do"... *beaming smile*
Then use 'critical incident technique' to detail: What you do and why!
"Last week, one of the surgeons called me to find whether anything had changed in the procedure of an unusual eye surgery they had only performed once in the last two years. I was able to send them that information within that half hour, and in turn, the surgeon had the information they needed for a successful day at work.
Add, or simply state:
Librarian's are like the unsung liver: we're not glamorous like the heart but we're integral to the process of a working health system - we're the first line of defense against the toxins of bad information *second beaming smile*"
Finally make sure to walk out of that elevator with the confidence of a surgeon!
This page originally stemmed from one of our HSICT members Penka Stoyanova, who said she used the following quip to explain why they spend time and money on article requests. It's what we dubbed Penka's Pearls of Wisdom:
When discussing budgets and trying to find ways to recover costs or create revenue, I’ve been asked “Can we ask the physicians to pay for the articles they request from the Library?”. My response: “ Imagine the following situation: Your son or wife is in the hospital and is seriously ill. Dr. X. needs an article that is from a rare publication and it will cost us $11.00 USD to get it. Would you expect him to pay for that article?” It has worked so far…
Article requests can seem very administrative to our managers; however, using this sort of Value Quip helps to quickly get the point across of how it really adds value to the quality care of our front-line health professionals