If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few posts, you know that I tend to stray away from sports, politics and sometimes, religion [disclosure: I am member of the United Methodist Church]. So, there will be no direct reference to any person, place. party or candidate here, from me anyway. However . . .
Because the age/experience issue is amplified right now – in full force – on the national stage, I’m going to take a look at it and ask you: When does age and experience matter? How does someone’s age or experience affect the way you qualify them from a public relations angle?
Some may want to break the two factors apart and insist they are separate subjects. Indeed, they are.
Yet, tying the two qualifiers together is not all that unreasonable when you consider: to get years of experience you have to be a certain age.
What qualifies a person, company or organization: age, experience or something else?
At dinner with some friends recently, Liza [name changed] talked about being among a final trio of candidates being considered for an executive corporate position. While her experience doesn’t align perfectly with the position’s responsibilities, Liza’s industry connections outweigh any experience gaps. Yes, you have be to a certain age to get into the chief-level circle. She’s transitioning from sales, the same place I came from when I decided to open a communications consulting practice.
Did it matter that my skill set [and language!] was more about closing than communicating to the companies who hired me as a writer? Surprisingly, no. One of my first big clients was a major national pharmaceutical firm that needed a warm body with a keyboard right away. A few years later, one of America’s largest retailers engaged my services as an internal communications consultant, even though I had no internal communications projects in my portfolio. My in? My writing mentor who recommended me.
One area where experience might be a toss-up?
Public speaking. If you can tell a story, motivate people, get the message across and leave the room with an inaudible, yet palpable echo, you’re going somewhere. Studying with my National Speakers Association Candidate University classmates, I was constantly awakened to possibilities. Almost everyone reinvented their message, based not on their experience, but on their passion.
How important is experience to you – either yours or the people you trust to do the job?