Ah, the 30-second gero-elevator speech: one of the most useful, dynamic tools in your career “toolkit”. With it, you present yourself in a professional, concise way that “says it all”. Short, sweet and to the point, your thirty seconds will motivate and educate those around you. Make people glad they asked!
When people respond to my self-introduction (usually with a “What the heck is a Gerontologist?”), I say: “A Gerontologist studies and promotes the successful aging of human beings, and I am so glad you asked!” I explain my specialty within the field (basically hitting the high points) and ask, “How about you?” She or he then has a chance to tell me his or her story, and I can tailor my Aging comments as it relates to that person. Light bulbs go on, and a real conversation begins.
My tips for 30 Gero-Seconds of Success:
♦Begin by introducing yourself into a mirror repetitively, concentrating on your cadence, attitude and eye contact. Think of a creative way to explain gerontology that touches the person you might be talking to.
♦Practice often, and (I know you do this already) make sure to communicate your empathy and interest with your voice and your eyes (warmth attracts even the chilliest of personalities). The key is practice, practice, practice!
♦Never underestimate enthusiasm. The Latin root of “enthusiasm” is “en Theo”, or “of God”. What a grand thought! Enthusiasm communications joyfulness and confidence, and leaves people with sense of well-being and affirmation. Basically, it rocks.
♦Be authentic. Communicate who you are and what an employer could expect from you. Let both the excellence of your work and the integrity of your character shine through. That is the winning combination!
♦Be brief. Remember, it’s only thirty seconds. You want them to have time to tell you what they do, what older adult they might have in their lives, and what aging hopes and fears they are encountering. When you know those things, you can tailor your comments to their needs, their job requirements.
♦Be humble. Your thirty gero-seconds are really about your usefulness to other people. Gerontologists will change the world in the next fifty years of the Boomer lifespan. Be the person who gets the job!
© 2010 Diane Alexander Patterson, MSG, CPG “If good real estate is about location, location, location, then ‘success in aging’ is about attitude, attitude, attitude!”