Recently, someone asked me an insightful question when I was onstage. I thought about it for a moment. Then I turned to the audience,and declared: “I’m 54 years old. And I’m still learning!”

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - quote "I’m 54 years old and I’m still learning! - Ageism

I distinctly remember noticing many encouraging smiles and nods from the audience. Interesting. Then later, several people came up to me and said how impressed they were that I mentioned my age.

The subtext was clear:

People rarely publicly declare
the taboo topic of their age,
particularly when they’re OLD.

After this recent experience, I decided to research ageism.

Men and women experience ageism – though often at different points in their careers.  People experience ageism when they’re young (“You look so young to be a _______!”) or old (“You look so good – for your age!”) 

It’s ingrained in our society and feeds into patronizing stereotypes – “sweet little old lady” or “loud, obnoxious teenager.”

Let’s talk AGEISM.

  1. The Beautiful Irony of Ageism
  2. Three Strategies to Combat Ageism
  3. Age & Your Personal Brand

 

1️⃣The Beautiful Irony of Ageism

Have you ever experienced ageism?  Either because you were too young or too old?

In the case where you experience ageism for being too old, I hope you’ll consider the beautiful irony of ageism.

You know that young whipper snapper who won’t hire you because you’re too old? Or the younger manager who doesn’t value your decades of experience? Well, someday they too might be the victim of ageism.

It’s poetic justice.

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - quote - ageism

 

2️⃣Three Strategies to Combat Ageism

1. A strong personal brand goes a long way

  • When you develop a strong personal brand, you provide people with something else to focus on other than your age.

2. Do not provide details that allow people to “do the math”

  • For example, instead of mentioning your children’s exact ages, just say “my kids.” Instead of declaring the exact year you graduated from college, just say “based on my years of experience.”
3. Call out the elephant in the room.
  • Declare your age and own it. “I’m 54 years old and I’m still learning!”

 

Talk About Talk - Framework Placque - Ageism

 

3️⃣ Age & Your Personal Brand

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - ep 160 - Ageism - quote - Age is one dimension of your personal brand that you have no control over, at least in terms of your chronological age - that is, the amount of time lapsed since you were born.

Yes, your age is an important element of your personal brand. And it’s an element of your personal brand where you have little control.

How strong is your personal brand?  

Recently I created a PERSONAL BRAND SELF-ASSESSMENT to help you reflect on your personal brand and see how you compare to others in three areas:

  1. Your Self Introduction
  2. Defining Your Brand
  3. Communicating Your Brand

Once you’ve completed the SELF-ASSESSMENT, you’ll see the combined results of all respondents to date and receive an email with your personal results.

There you go – 3 things to Talk About this week:

  1. The Beautiful Irony of Ageism
  2. Three Strategies to Combat Ageism
  3. Age & Your Personal Brand

You can hear more of my take on ageism in this week’s Talk About Talk podcast ep.160 on AppleSpotifyYouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

(Yes, that’s ChatGPT’s illustration of me at age 80!)
Have a great week.

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea WojnickiDr. Andrea Wojnicki

executive communication coach

 

P.S. – Don’t forget to take the PERSONAL BRAND SELF-ASSESSMENT.  This is your chance for self-reflection and to compare your answers to others.

P.P.S. – Are you subscribed to my LinkedIn newsletter, “Talking About Talk”? You can join other ambitious folks and learn more by signing up here.