Tap into Your Inner Celebrity

July 15, 2005

Let your inner charisma out, and you'll be surrounded by allies and opportunities.

You can promote your practice, and yourself, without resorting to sleazy sales tactics. Last month I told you about easy, effective ways to attract patients and referrals, such as writing articles and speaking in public. This time I'll show you a simple exercise to capitalize on your charisma.

People with charisma exude confidence and inspire it in others. They seem to effortlessly attract people and opportunities. And yes - you do have charisma, at least in a professional sense, whether you know it or not.

It may need a little work, though. When I'm asked by organizations to help their leaders develop charisma, we always start with an exercise I call your personal elevator pitch, or PEP.Imagine this scenario: You walk into the doctors' lounge after a week away at a medical conference, and are greeted by a referring physician you haven't seen for more than a month. He asks, "Hey, how's it going?"

You could say: "Great! Just came back from vacation. Boy, did I need some rest. The beaches of Maui are really fantastic. And the conference wasn't too bad. How are you doing?"

But, how about this: "Great! I just got back from a conference on the latest thinking for GI reflux and peptic ulcer disease. What was refreshing was how honest the presenters seemed to be as they talked about what works, what doesn't, and what they recommend. I'm thinking about putting together a short newsletter or maybe a talk for my practice based on what I heard there."  

Both responses are friendly, but the second sends out specific signals about you that your colleague will intuitively pick up: You are optimistic, confident, charismatic, engaged in your work, and forward-looking - just the kind of physician most doctors would refer to.

This preferred response incorporates the PEP talk, which consists of several sentences that you speak when colleagues ask "How's it going?" or "What's new?" The PEP talk doesn't replace small talk, it precedes it - setting a tone of confidence and professionalism for the remainder of the conversation.

Craft your own PEP statement

Think of the template as having three parts:

  • Pearls of the past. What professional experience have you had recently that was fun and enjoyable?
  • What I appreciate. What positive qualities did you discover about either yourself, your staff, or other people during that experience?
  • Where I'm going now. What positive or creative action are you planning as a result?

Give yourself about an hour and think about professional experiences you've had in the past that were enjoyable.

Next, imagine yourself in those experiences again, and recall what you appreciated about the people involved. What attributes stick with you? Teamwork, fun, sensitivity, honesty, creativity?  This is the crux of the middle section of your PEP statement.

Lastly, decide where you are going next, based on the pearls and the attributes. It could be a specific plan or an idea. Then consider opportunities you may have for trying out the PEP talk.

It is human nature to help others who are charismatic and "on the ball." We promote others who generate their own momentum and energy. Let your PEP talk naturally attract your allies and ambassadors. You can win the attention and respect of colleagues and individuals who will then cheerfully do your promotion for you.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2005 issue of Physicians Practice.