If you do not answer this question within thirty seconds with a response that piques the interest of the person asking, you probably have lost their attention. Don't believe it? Cast aside your adopted Rotary biases and consider these questions:
- How long are the TV commercials, sound bites, and headlines that trigger your enterprising mind into wanting to learn more about the topic?
- Why do you think Twitter has become so popular?
The answer to 'What is Rotary?' whether it is a question, a sign, a TV spot, a headline, a sound bite, or a newsletter has only one goal: to entice people to want to learn more.
Every person in a Rotary leadership position should be encouraged to develop an effective ten to thirty second response to What is Rotary? because creating and embedding one would require them to get up close and personal with what Rotary really is. If Rotary leaders cannot, from their heart, deliver an effective differentiating response, be it referencing their local club or Rotary International, why are they a leader? (Click here for a PETS, GETS, or Assembly exercise that could accomplish this objective.)
One response, incorporating a tag line suggested by Siegel+Gale, is: "Our Rotary club is an organization of local people with enterprising minds connecting for good." Another, paraphrasing conventional Rotary wisdom, could be: "Our Rotary club is an organization of local active or retired business, professional, and community leaders". For Rotary International staff and leaders, each could lead off with "Rotary International is a worldwide association of over 34,000 local clubs whose members are . . . "
Even in a slow drawl, each response takes less than fifteen seconds, answers the question, differentiates Rotary from the ordinary, and communicates Who Rotarians Are. Both work for me - and on my mental attitude. And I question whether or not we can begin doing what RIPN Germ desires, ". . . enthusiastically and effectively market who we are" if we don't know and understand who we are.
What would be your response?