You meet someone at a restaurant/networking event/gym/etc. and they ask what you do for a living. Whatever you do, don’t just say, “I’m a dentist.”
The response you’ll usually get range from “Oh, I hate dentists!” to “Does this look infected?”
Instead, use this as an opportunity to promote your skills and generate interest.
In the business world, this is called having an “Elevator Pitch.” The name comes from that notion that if you start small talk with someone on an elevator, you should be able to effectively define your business before the ride is over.
I use my “Elevator Pitch” whenever I’m asked what I do for a living. I am often able to initiate a conversation rather than scare away an anti-dentite. Here are three tips to craft one of your own:
(1) Keep it under 15 seconds
Even 30 seconds will seem like an eternity. You want it short and sweet to be memorable. Just like this paragraph.
(2) Find your focus, make it sexy
Take the question, “What do you do” and transform it into, “What do you do as a dentist that’s different from other dentists?”
General dentists should zero in on the aspects of their practice that they are ready to develop. The popular ones these days are cosmetics and implants; I say go with what works. Don’t just rattle off all of the things a general dentist does.
Even specialists should narrow down what they do. If you’re an orthodontist, don’t just say you “do braces for kids and adults.” Mention hot products like Invisalign or techniques like lingual brackets. Specifics will help the listener think of someone that can use your services. Make yourself stand out.
(3) Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Practice until it sounds natural. However you don’t want it to sound too polished and fake, like this guy:
"Trust me, the veneers I do are friggin' gorgeous!"
That being said, you do want to be able to rattle it off without thinking. Perfect it by saying it over and over, then put it in your pocket, ready for use.
“I’m a dentist specializing in cosmetics. Nothing makes me happier than giving patients the smile makeovers they’ve always wanted.”
“I’m a periodontist; it a dentist who specializes in preserving gum and bone. A large part of my practice is replacing missing teeth with dental implants.”
“I’m a dentist specializing in sedation. You know how some people are anxious about going to the dentist? I help those people get the dental care they desperately need using sedation.
Notice that these examples are conversation starters. In a subtle way you are influencing the listener to ask a follow up question and start a dialogue.