Creating a brief explanation of who you are and what you do, otherwise known as an elevator speech, is vital to have ready to-go in your search for supervisors. As you’re networking and meeting people, this elevator speech can significantly boost your confidence and help you step out of your comfort zone. Even the most extroverted person can feel a pang of panic when the time comes to talk about oneself. Therefore, feeling prepared to communicate who you are and what you do will make it less stressful and more enjoyable. And you may meet your ideal match in the midst of it all, which can add motivation to the mingling you do. Notice I didn’t use the word “networking” to describe the communication between you and potential supervisors. Getting to know people and letting them get to know you is really what’s happening when we network.
The Balance Small Business, which helps small companies market themselves, revealed key tips in a recent article, which include:
- Keep it short, to about 60 seconds.
- Write it out at first and then edit ruthlessly. Take out anything not pertinent to communicating what you do and who you are as a clinician.
- Skip the industry jargon. Try and make it in plain language, so even someone not familiar with our industry would understand it.
- Say and practice it in a mirror until you feel natural.
- Memorize it. The more you know it, the more fluid it’ll feel and come across. Memorizing has the added benefit of being able to change it up without it sounding scripted.
Something else vital to your elevator speech is expressing your passion for what you do. Here are a few questions to discover what your passion is:
- What led you to want to pursue the counseling/therapy field?
- How much of it was a personal decision about finding a fulfilling career? The good feeling you imagined you’d have helping people and making a living doing it.
- How much of it was about the income you want to be able to earn?
- Was there a particular population or set of mental health issues that you were particularly interested in learning and working with?
- What have you learned thus far in school or your training that lights a fire in you and intrigues you?
Answering these can help you mine for the unique passion you feel about working in our field. By getting this across to potential supervisors, it can help them connect to you and see your potential. You never know what it may lead them to disclose with you, which could turn into a geniunely connecting human-to-human moment, rather than a potential employee seeking a job.
Since most potential supervisors aren’t going to expect you to be a polished therapist yet, understanding what motivates you in this career can help them see your heart for this line of work. In seeing your heart, they may feel like they’re getting to know you more and therefore, may be more likely to forge a professional relationship with you and consider bringing you on as a supervisee.
As you’re sharing your elevator speech with people, don’t forget to ask them about themselves. As a typical social exchange, be just as curious about who they are and what kind of clinician they are without being too nosy. Find out how long they’ve been practicing, what led them into the field and how established they are as a therapist. All of this will give you plenty of information to decide if you want to get to know them more and pursue the potential of working together!
If all else fails and you completely forget your elevator speech, just remember employers like to hire people:
-they think they’ll get along well with
-who will be able to operate pretty independently
-and who can bring in their own referrals to build their caseload.
If that comes across in meeting someone, then you have done a good job. In fact, a pre-licensed therapist who recently took my online course, “How to Get Into a Private or Group Practice: A Step by Step Guide to Start and Grow Your Caseload,” landed her ideal supervisor because she told the supervisor she had taken my online course and was knowledgeable about what she was going to do marketing/advertising-wise to generate client referrals!
Curious how you can find a supervisor in private practice? Read here.
Wondering what you need to know before seeking out a supervisor, read here.
Tyra Butler is a licensed therapist and clinical supervisor, and helps early career therapists navigate the maze of licensure and advance in their careers. She offers consultation for important career moves, case consultation and supports the emotional development of therapists. As a professional writer she provides copywriting coaching for web site and marketing content. Don’t miss out on signing up for her email list where she delivers exclusive content, including blogs, inspirational pieces, entrepreunerial tips and must-know industry facts. Sign up for her list here. She’s also the founder of the Facebook group Early Career Clinician Community where she supports therapists on the road to licensure. Tyra has been in private practice for 10 years starting right out of grad school; she built a growing caseload into a thriving practice and loves to teach others how to as well. Additionally, she has a background of 10 years in corporate America working as a copywriter and communications manager.