Create your Basic Message
Lynn Grodzki is an American Psychotherapist who in an earlier career was a successful business woman. She brought together her business and therapy experience to write the most useful book I’ve come across on how to create a successful therapy practice - by attending to it’s business needs in equal measure to it’s clinical needs. In her book Twelve Months to Your Ideal Private Practice: A Workbook
Grodzki acknowledges that as a group we are generally shy of promoting ourselves, and in our training are not taught the skills of how to easily and clearly communicate our professional value to the public.
In Month 5 of her workbook Grodzki describes how to create a basic message for introducing who you are and what you do in a lucid, positive and energetic manner that invites conversation and builds a professional relationship. While designed for a face-to-face meeting this basic message is just as useful for the service description on your talkingworks Listing, or as an introductory paragraph for your Profile Page.
Gordzki’s criteria for a well-crafted basic message for the public are:
- No more than 3 or 4 short sentences. This is an introduction you are going to memorise, so keep it brief and easy to remember and hold in your mind at all times.
- No jargon words or technical terms. If you use a technical term in your introduction, your listener will tend to stop at that term and not hear the rest of the introduction. If you use a technical term, anticipate that your introduction will do little more than explain the term. My advice is that you drop all jargon and let the introduction be about who you are and what you do, rather than the techniques you use.
- Keep your language positive. This is an opportunity to attract others, not discourage them. I want you to project what excites you about your work, not what you find difficult.
- Target only one aspect of your work. You may have a diverse set of skills, but this is a short introduction. You simply can’t say it all. I suggest you target the aspect of your practice that you want to build – an area where you want to generate referrals. Are you trying to fill a new group, reach a specific clientele, attract and ideal client type? You will have more impact if you let this introduction speak to just one component of what you do.
- Learn to love to say this introduction. The most important part of this introduction is to love saying it. The sole purpose of the basic message is to become a container for your passion about your craft. The words are just a vehicle to express your underling feelings and enthusiasm. When you can speak about your work with love, people will naturally want to move closer to you. Passion is attractive.
Grodzki goes on to identify four basic-message styles. Pick the style that suits your personality and current needs, and use it to help structure your basic message. She encourages you not to just borrow one of the examples but to “do the hard work to compose your own”, so that the message carries your particular essence.
I specialise in ___________ . What I enjoy (value/appreciate/love/cherish) about my work is __________ .
This is a straightforward, conversational introduction, one that you can use to highlight your niche, philosophy of service, and enthusiasm about your work. For example:
I specialise in working with adults who are going through difficult times in their lives – divorce, job loss, depression, maybe the loss of a family member. What I love about the work I do is that although I initially see people at a low point in their lives, as we work together they find the courage, skills, and resilience to keep going and make life worth living.
I support __________ in their desire to ____________ by the means of _____________ .
This style is very useful if you are trying to break down the process of why people come for therapy and what you have to offer. For example:
I support couples in their desire to make their marriage a success from the start. I do this by offering premarital counselling classes and weekly couples therapy sessions, both of which give couples the confidence and skills they need in order to make a new marriage really work well.
You know how __________ ? Well, I ____________ .
This style is especially effective if you have a complex message because it sets up an analogy which speeds understanding. For example:
You know how it is possible to get lost when you are walking in a dense forest and don’t have a compass or a map to use as a guide? Well, I help families who are feeling lost and confused by functioning as a guide for them, and together we develop reference points such as how they can set house rules, talk to each other, and resolve conflicts.
If you ___________, I’m the kind of therapist who can help you to _____________ .
This style lets you define the type of clients you like to work with and get more specific about the benefits you have to offer them. For example:
If you are a pesron who has been in therapy before and is ready to try it again in order to make lasting change, I am the kind of experienced therapist who can hekp you to understand and resolve your issues at a deeper level. Many of my clients find that by working in a deeper way, they develop the possibility of creating real transformation in their lives.
Other books by Lynn Grodzki: