By Courtney Lee, MS, RDN, CLT, CFCS
Nutrition information is everywhere coming from almost anyone. In addition to receiving nutrition information from doctors and nurses, we are given advice from personal trainers, TV show hosts, celebrities, and athletes just to name a few. With social media and effective marketing, often the diet or program with the best advertising at the right price with the most “likes” will grab a person’s attention, regardless of who is selling it. With all the chaos and noise, how do you as a registered dietitian distinguish yourself as the nutrition expert in a way that people recognize? How do you get the same traction behind your messages as the latest fad celebrity diets?
Part of setting yourself apart from everyone else who is talking about nutrition is understanding why there are so many voices out there. There is a lot of opportunity to turn a profit in the nutrition industry, so oftentimes the goal is to make money. However, it’s important to remember that our bodies are unique—some nutrition recommendations may work for everyone and some recommendations may not. This is why a person who no longer eats sugar feels like a new person and shouts from the rooftops that everyone should avoid sugar.
Yet, not everyone who eliminates sugar from their diet experiences the same changes in health. This knowledge rooted in evidence-based practice is what allows registered dietitians to separate themselves from all the others out there and be the impactful nutrition experts. Dietitians can guide each individual through the process of navigating which nutrition practices are best for them and their health.
So how can you be recognized as the nutrition expert? How do you get people to listen to your voice in the midst of all the loud, chaotic, nutrition noise? Here are some practical steps to set yourself apart:
- Individualize, individualize, individualize. If dietitians fail to individualize their nutrition recommendations, they fail at setting themselves apart.
- Deliver a clear message. Don’t confuse your audience with too many directions. Keep your message clear and concise, like an elevator speech.
- Use personal examples. Talk about what your nutrition recommendation has done for you or people in your circle.
- Ask for testimonies. If someone is thrilled with their results, ask them to write it down and tell everyone! Now, new clients or patients don’t have to take your word for it.
- Take a lesson in marketing. If you don’t have formal training in marketing, get some! Even clinical dietitians can benefit from public speaking and marketing training—you sell yourself and your recommendations with each patient interaction.
- Don’t sweat losing people to the latest fad. If they’re not listening to you, don’t be offended, just move on.
- Work at staying current with new research, trends, and evidence-based practices. Don’t get stuck in the past, keep propelling nutrition forward.
These tips are not a quick fix—you will not get rich overnight, have crowds begging for appointments, or instantly have the respect you deserve. But this will set you apart from the other sources of nutrition information and allow the community to see you for the nutrition expert that you are.
Courtney Lee, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT, CFCS consults locally with Dietitians On Demand and also has a virtual private practice, Kitchen Nutrition, LLC. Courtney enjoys equipping dietitians and dietetic interns with the tools they need for professional success so they don’t have to learn the hard way. Courtney enjoys baking, running, and hosting friends and family in her home.
Find her on Instagram @yourkitchennutrition.
Dietitians On Demand is a nationwide staffing and recruiting company for registered dietitians, specializing in short-term, temporary and permanent-hire positions in acute care, long term care and food service positions. We’re dedicated to dietitians and helping them enhance their practice and excel in the workplace. Check out our job openings, request your coverage, or visit our store today!