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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Part II - The Importance of Being Earnest (and Brief)

Thank you for the flood of hits on Part I.  As a result of some comments, here are my thoughts on effective responses to the question, “What is Rotary?”

If the question is referring to Rotary International, the simple answer is, “Rotary International is a worldwide association of almost 35,000 Rotary clubs.”   However, most likely the person asking “What is Rotary?” is someone who is going to, coming from, or in the vicinity of where they live.  A proper, simple response would be something like, “Rotary clubs are local networks of active or retired business, professional, or community leaders” or, if you prefer to respond singularly,  “Rotary is a local network of active or retired business, professional, and community leaders.”
    These responses answer the question in brief, simple terms.  If the person asking, the Listener, is interested in networks of business, professional, and community leaders, which most of a local Rotary club’s target audience would be, they most likely will give Responder permission to proceed, usually by asking another question. 
      Here’s why these responses work.
1. They are brief, earnest, and answer the question,
3. They mention something that would interest most people in a local target audience (networking with influential people,)
4. They differentiate Rotarians and Rotary clubs from most local non-profit and charitable organizations, and,
5. Oh, yes.  Did I mention that they are brief, earnest, and answer the question?
         If Listener is a part of the target audience, the response singles them out as being a leader or being interested in meeting leaders, which makes Listener feel a bit special.  If Listener is not a member of the target audience, they may not give permission for Responder to proceed.  Even then, Responder did answer the question in terms so brief and simple that Listener may remember Rotary's differentiation

Think about all of the above as you study the “YOU ARE THE MISSING PIECE” sign. Does it attract the attention of any of a local club’s target audience?  Does it trigger a common emotion the target audience might have?  Does it differentiate Rotary in the minds of local target audiences? 

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