Written by Bob Howard-Spink
I’ll be watching Will Ferrer in Elf sometime before Christmas. It’s traditional. I love it.
Especially the final scene in Central Park – where to make Santa’s troublesome sleigh fly, the watching crowd are urged to sing with total belief “Santa Claus is coming to town.” And as always – it will make me fill up!
Now I’ve always joked about emotional sensitivity – more so lately, as it does seem to increase with age. If ever I felt the need to give it serious justification I’d say that it’s the outcome of an imaginative and creative mind. But now I’ve got some serious back up to my tongue in cheek claims!
According to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley “Older people have a hard time keeping a lid on their feelings, especially when viewing heartbreaking or disgusting scenes in movies and reality shows.”
But it doesn’t stop at blubbing over movies. It seems that we “Onwego’ers” deal with emotion more usefully. Whereas the young will tune out the sentimentality and are more tough-minded about these situations – older people are able to let it in …to cope with it …and to reinterpret it in a more positive way.
There is more on the research in this week’s escience news including what for me is the most significant comment. – That this adds to the already growing belief that emotional intelligence and cognitive skills become more acute as we move into our 60’s – thus giving us an advantage in inter-personal situations at work and at home.
When you’re a “mature candidate” putting yourself into contention for a job it seems kind of difficult to present age and experience positively. Some of that difficulty is self-induced because of a sense of prejudice – partly real but often exaggerated. But that position of defensiveness is never a good place to be when selling yourself. And that’s the other problem we have – selling ourselves. We seem to get this overwhelming urge not to want to. Maybe underpinned by a feeling that we shouldn’t have to – not with all our experience. We just don't feel right about bigging ourselves up as those young sproggs do on The Apprentice.
But have you taken a close look at how they do it? “I’m an innovator!” “I’m passionate about creativity!” “I challenge issues!” It’s all me me me!!! No wonder Lord Sugar get’s a bit exasperated at times. When employer’s offer that invitation at interview “tell me about yourself” we in our compliant interviewee way think we have to answer that very question.
What they really are saying is “tell me what you will do for my business!”
One of the first things I was taught as a salesman was ” talk benefits not just features – sell the sizzle not the sausage!” That lesson was soon followed by “tailor and prioritise the benefits to the prospects qualified needs.” After that came “then prompt them to agree that this is what they want” (AKA Closing) – and we realised how easy selling can be. So courtesy of our friends at UC Berkeley our age and experience now delivers a proven benefit to employers – we face up to difficult and sensitive issues and can better reframe them into positives and work them through.
So before that next interview – do your pre-call planning (lesson 6) and research the prospect’s needs – find out about their business. Think of issues that may arise in the areas of internal relationships and customer interfaces. Question and probe these areas when you’re in the interview – it’s allowed! More than that I’d say this is the crucial step in winning them over. Establish their needs and qualify their importance and priority. Then demonstrate your own case histories that show how you can satisfy those needs …what you will do for their business …and therefore why they need you.
Then prompt them to agree.
Bob Howard-Spink is a supplier of positive attitudes. He runs OnWeGo; a website for people who think they've done as much as they ever will in life and work. Bob supplies inspiration and ideas on work, health and play. He is an advocate for making the rest of your life, the best of your life!
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