InfoLit Learning Community: IL Elevator Pitches to Engage Faculty

Posted by InfoLit Learning Community on 9/14/18 9:00 AM

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Promotion of your IL instructional work to faculty can take many forms, from formal presentations at committee meetings right down to chats in the hallway. Don’t discount the chat approach as ineffective, as it can have many benefits. Not least is that faculty who may find the library intimidating (there are some!) might be more open to hearing what you can do for them in a casual chat than in a committee meeting.

While a friendly conversation might feel unacademic, you can still pack in plenty of information by having a prepared elevator speech ready to go—this means a talk that offers a quick pitch or a few key facts about something important to your role. An IL-related elevator pitch for faculty could include details of what classes you’re offering lately, statistics on how IL instruction can benefit students, and facts from professional development literature. For example, the current issue of College and Research Libraries includes “The Academic Library’s Contribution to Student Success: Library Instruction and GPA,” an account of a study that found a small but statistically significant increase in GPA among students who had taken library instruction.

The business world offers tips on how to create elevator pitches that flow smoothly and include lots of pertinent facts in a short time. In an article in Forbes, Judy Coughlin, CMO and co-owner of Chic CEO, recommends that:

  • It’s fine for your speech to sound a little like a sales pitch as long as it includes relevant information

“Students who took one or more of our library’s instruction classes showed an increase of half a GPA point last year. I’m free this Friday morning if you’d like to come by and discuss how I could help your class.”

  • Check for jargon and stop words—terms that the person you’re speaking to might not be familiar with and that could make them pause.

Instead of saying, “Library instruction can help your students to detect disinformation online,” Try: “Library instruction can help your students not to be taken in by disinformation—what they might call ‘fake news’”

  • Use a question in your pitch

“I heard you’re trying an annotated bibliography assignment this semester. How’s it going?”

For more on how to get your short, punchy speech down pat, see this article from The Muse. While it’s not for librarians per se, it has much to offer, from how to use index cards to prepare your points to how to practice your speech—alone, in an elevator. Also, check out this recent webinar Credo presented in our InfoLit Learning Community—“How to Implement the Framework for Information Literacy with Classroom Faculty,” in which Professor Janice Baskin discussed ways to get faculty on board with library work.

To access the webinar archive, join us in the InfoLit Learning Community, where you can find all our free webinars, discussion forum, and IL resources Already a member? Log in here!

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