How many times have you been at a party or any gathering where someone asks the inevitable conversation filler " what do you do for a living?" Some close family members still don't understand what I do, so how can I explain this to my new friend before his or her eyes glaze over. When my son was younger he just told his friends "my dad invented Star Wars toys" making me an instant celebrity and him the boy-about-town. I also realize that this query is a time to promote our agency's mission with someone who may have some interest in my passion and could be a person who embraces our cause. So I keep three elevator speeches in my bag of tricks, the first a seven word "snapshot" of what I do, a statement that also includes a taste of our mission. The second is a longer version of the first designed for the person who is still looking at me after my seven-word gem. In my other hip pocket is the follow-up to the follow-up, the all important "why should you contribute to Lowell House?"
But nothing happens without the seven-word gem, so that the phrase is always in the ready, always on the tip of my tongue. Ever try to describe your job, in many cases, your life's work, in seven words or less? Not easy. Here are a few that worked for me, all submitted to a strategic planning group on LinkedIn:
"I reduce the pain of mental illness."
"Improve efficiency without compromising our mission."
"I fight the stigma of mental illness."
"Show people how NOT to need me."
"Making "family caregiver" a household name."
"I help strategically help turn data and thoughts into action."
"Empowering the differently-abled through meaningful employment."
All good, all present a picture of the people who generate them, all have an essence of the mission. They also beg the all-important question, "Tell me more, I'm intrigued." I've thought long and hard about my own statement, tossed many into the virtual basket, but finally came up with this one:
"Help people prepare for life without the devastation of addiction."
More than seven words and not as immediately understandable as building Star Wars toys, but gets to the point, briefly and with the mission in mind. Send me yours, and we'll post them on our page.
Posted on Sun, January 11, 2015
by Bill Garr