30-Second Elevator Speech

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July 9, 2019 by Dr. Robbie Barber

Whether you are school librarian, or an edtech coach, or even a classroom teacher, you need to be prepared to advocate for yourself. And it is better to start the school year off right by making it clear how important your job is AT THE START OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. Do not wait to put together a summation infographic for what you accomplished during the year in May. (You do this, right?!). Start right now as school gets underway.

I recommend that you are prepared with a 30-second elevator speech. Imagine getting on an elevator with someone and being able to talk to them for the four minute ride. Now, recognize that no stranger will listen to you for more than a sentence or two. So be ready to hit them with specifics and not generalities.

The average human attention span is dwindling. In 2000, it was 12 seconds, in 2013, it was 8 seconds. A goldfish has 9 second attention span.”

Microsoft Spans Research Report, Consumer Insights, Microsoft Canada (Spring 2015)

What specifics? Try putting together some numbers for yourself.

  • How many schools do you support?
  • Do you have any help or are you alone?
  • How many total teachers do you support (across multiple schools if appropriate)?
  • Do you teach students?
  • Do you create support documents like newsletters or written directions?
  • How many and what kind of classroom resources do you provide?
  • Do you help others across the district formally or informally?

Know your numbers and have them readily accessible in your head.

WAIT!! STRANGERS?! No, teammates! Instead of just thinking of this as just advocacy, think of this as COMMUNITY BUILDING. Because what you are really doing is inserting yourself into the team. Try starting with the phrase “Did you know…” and see where it takes you. Did you know that I provide resources for every course taught in this school including math and P.E.?

Did you know…?

From this phrase, see if you can insert yourself into the group. Ask questions on how you can help. I think of my job as a serving every student, faculty, and administrator in my building. How do you see your job?

Helpful Resources:

Cybraryman’s Website: Building Community

For School Librarians from the podcast School Librarians United: Self-Advocacy: WE Are The Resource

For EdTech Coaches

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