Chris Westfall is a speaker, author and entrepreneur, best known as the "National Elevator Pitch Champion". He is an award-winning MBA instructor and a professional development coach. His first book will be published by Greenleaf in 2012.
Excellent list. I especially like "Match Actions to Words" - consistency is so important in effective communication. And, for a lot of my coaching clients, I find myself reminding them to "get to the verb"! In other words, putting your story into action can convey a message that's more compelling (and a lot less rambling - you know what I mean?) Great post!
1 year, 8 months ago on 12 Most Friendly Ways to Use Conversation to Build Relationships
Well written and very intriguing - while experience is concrete, and serves to support some credibility/competence, it is far from the only factor in determining capability. "Are you experienced" is a good question (really good, if you listen to Jimi Hendrix, but I digress) but a better question is:
"Can you help us?" Candidates need to consider how they answer that one - and how they can make their experience (no matter how much of it) relevant.
Competence and experience are two very very different things. I love the idea of considering someone with 15 years of experience...who's floated by. Making time is not making a difference!
And this quote: "If you have spent the past 20 years in marketing, how much is the same from the marketing that you are doing today?" Resting on your past achievements isn't a message that fits for the current economy. Well said!
1 year, 10 months ago on The Experience Metric: An HR Fail
Love these quotes! What an excellent addition to 12most.com. My favorite is #4 - I believe that communication really gets interesting when you make the second person first (and of course, that's YOU). Nicely done!
1 year, 11 months ago on 12 Most Brilliant Quotes About Communication From Inspired Minds
@chattyprof I think there's a definite difference between shared learning via a MOOC and the kind of academic rigor that's really necessary. But I think MOOCs are raising the question of what kind of rigor is really necessary! It's an interesting phenomenon to observe, and I'm curious to see what will develop. I'm curious to know if you think there will be a long-term impact on the way that colleges connect with students? And, has that change already begun, beyond the hallowed halls of MIT and Stanford?
1 year, 11 months ago on MOOCs: Education Transformation
@ITendToAmaze So true - the one way to make sure you won't get the answer you're looking for: never ask the question. When it comes to the issue of raises and rates, trust plays a huge part. Step one: trust yourself enough to know that you're worth it. Thanks for your comment!
1 year, 11 months ago on Get Paid What You're Worth
@JeffRollins Well said, my friend! What you said about mindfulness is the key in so many things - and shutting down the noise to hear what's really going on has been a big part of my personal journey over the last few years. I've been reading "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, and finding the message very powerful. I'm not always able to shut out the white noise, but when I can "get rid of everything else" I find that I'm happier, more effective, and more able to recognize the people that matter to me. I really appreciate your perspective - thanks again for your comment!
1 year, 11 months ago on Your Guide to Mentalist Mind Reading
@Kristine Canavan It seems we have more ways than ever to connect electronically, but that personal connection has always been the most important. "Honest to a fault" brings to mind the idea that the "truth hurts". (We must use our super-powers of perception for good, not for evil :) I believe that taking time to honestly see the people that matter most can help you to get closer to a real connection - and I know you do too. Thanks for your comment, Kristine!
@VS Krishnan Interesting perspective - thanks for sharing!
2 years ago on Got Influence?
exceptionally well written summary of the impact of Mason's resignation. Your five components of leadership are the building blocks of a great message, that continues to evolve. Like a lot of people who read this blog, I'm curious what you will come up with next ! Thanks for the insights - well said!
2 years ago on Groupon CEO Fired: Shows One Last Great Act of Leadership
@davisfnp Thanks for the feedback! My question is: what if you don't have a pleasing personality? Can you still persuade, if you are a jerk ...or if you can't make others feel good?
2 years ago on Changing Perception into Reality
@profkrg There are things we are good at, and things we enjoy. The most satisfying choices seem to arrive at the intersection of both skills and enjoyment, playing to our strengths in a way that's rewarding, both emotionally and financially. There's one key question that I use with my coaching clients, and I think it may help. The question is, "What is it that you would love to create?" It's important to consider the question seriously, and creatively, to arrive at a point of internal knowing, and I help my clients to see where that "aha!" moment lives. Then, a follow up: "What is is that you would like to create - with, through and for others - that people would pay you to do?" I tackle each one of those prepositions in detail, to arrive at a focus that isn't just navel-gazing, but allows for a new picture (a new thought) about how others can be engaged in your vision. After all, there's not much in the world worth doing unless it involves other people - and the only way to create a great vision is to share it, and then act on it. Does that make sense? This visioning exercise is one that has always had major revelations for me, as well as my clients - it's not so much about a technique or strategy as it is just looking in the right place, and letting your intuition help you along the way.
2 years ago on Honesty: Putting You into Your Story
Love it: "STOP!" What great advice. So many times, a salesperson is married to the presentation - and has to get to slide 43, or design #8, or else! Relevance is so important, because it puts your attention on your client. Great info!
2 years ago on The Pitch That Will Dramatically Increase Your Sales
@Michelle_Mazur Clever idea - passion and excitement are great, but wild pacing is just hard to follow. Love the book idea!
2 years, 1 month ago on Avoid These Presentation Mistakes
@profkrg The key is: make the second person first. Also, always meet with really interesting people. :-)
2 years, 1 month ago on Discover Your Perfect Audience
@CarolLynnRivera Thanks Caroline - there are so many experts who try to push a particular viewpoint, theory or strategy. My agenda is to try and take an even-handed approach to where people are, right now. Appreciate your feedback -
2 years, 2 months ago on Are You a Wantrepreneur?
@creativeoncall I wonder if that "forgetfulness" is an attempt at control, or just oversight, or what exactly. As an entrepreneur, I am never too far away from the customer and their needs. Not saying I've got it all figured out, but in my business I can't afford to overlook the most important person in the room - it's always the customer. And, by the way, if you're in the audience or in a coaching session, that makes you the customer, too!
2 years, 3 months ago on Transform Your Presentation in Six Words
Elevator pitch tips? I've got a few...but yours are great! LOL Love this article, and it's so important to keep it brief. The HBS model is a little limiting, I think - but a lot of folks are familiar with that site. I believe it's key to create a little more modern conversation, not necessarily a sales pitch - but that's me. Attention spans are short, and that's why it's key to approach the conversation in a way that is concise - and persuasive! I've got a lot of examples of how to deliver a world-class elevator pitch right here: http://www.youtube.com/westfallonline
2 years, 3 months ago on Elevator Pitches: Creating Engaging First Impressions
@SteveWoodruff "If" i did, it was an honest mistake! :-) Great catch LOL
@shawmu it's easy to support great content
2 years, 3 months ago on Chris Westfall | Keynote Speaker | Business Coach | Stocking Stuffers: the Best Business Books - Chris Westfall
What a great idea. It's been my experience that the elevator pitch changes, whether you're in the boardroom, or the lobby, online or in person. A tool like this is a great way to deliver your message, but there's still work to be done to determine what that message is, and how to shape it so that it's compelling to an investor.
2 years, 3 months ago on Pitch-o-matic: Harvard Business School will help you craft your elevator speech
@CarolLynnRivera right there with ya - well said! Thanks for your comment
2 years, 3 months ago on Getting the Attention You Deserve
@Tara R Alemany Well said - there are a number of examples in "Running the Gauntlet" (Chapter 16) that show the good, the bad and the ugly of not focusing on your listener. I like the way you differentiate between connection and promotion - thanks for your reply!
@markfidelman hi Mark, I've included several written examples in my book, The NEW Elevator Pitch - including how to pitch to angel investors, how to pitch a TV show, an informal networking pitch and others. You can find a ton of examples on my youtube channel, youtube.com/westfallonline, but here's a direct link to an elevator pitch example: http://youtu.be/98WlZJqscVk - The example starts at 1:53. Are you looking for more examples, or instruction? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 years, 4 months ago on Great Presentation Ideas: How to Captivate Your Audience
@Michelle_Mazur It is so funny that you mention Robin Williams - he's one of the examples I talk about in my book! It's hard to tune in to an audience, when you're focused on what you have to say. How do you help your clients to manage both - focusing on the story, and the listener?
@AndyNathan Love it! -
2 years, 4 months ago on Warning: Don't Send that Email!
@rachelfinder I hope I don't overlook the people that matter because I'm looking at my phone...great comments, thank you very much for your input.
2 years, 4 months ago on The Lost Art of Conversation
@MZazeela Thanks Marc - I hope I do as well online as in real life, and vice versa - I work hard to keep a consistency. After all, I don't want to meet someone and have them say, "You don't really live up to your avatar." :-) Thanks for the great comments!
@douglaserice Great comment. Making real connections has helped me to balance the value of these fantastic online tools. For a while there, I was starting to go a little crazy without the human interaction! And the piece from Aaron is filled with some great ideas - thanks for sharing!
@BruceSallan I know! Your reputation precedes you - wish I had known you when I was writing the book. Did the crazy stuff actually work? Is it necessary to really go with something extreme, to be memorable? And, here's the $64 question: Did you ever go too far?
2 years, 4 months ago on Great Presentation Ideas: How to Pitch a TV Show
Kneale, I absolutely love "presenting an idea" instead of giving a presentation. How do your clients respond - does it take the pressure off and help them to focus (and not worry about insignificant mistakes? What a fantastic idea
2 years, 5 months ago on Why Sorry Doesn't Cut It
@profkrg Thanks Kenna! It seems that when sorry is really needed, it's hard to say...when it's unnecessary, it shows up all over the place!
@LMasterEdD When "sorry" is necessary, it's super-important! Glad you liked the post.
Powerful tool, with a compelling graphic! I'm very interested in making more out of my network, and this platform provides a really intriguing solution. Miles, you are batting 1000% for great online tools. Thanks for another terrific share.
2 years, 5 months ago on Use The Power of Personal Connections with Reachable
@JuanFlx Juan, I appreciate the comments - very kind of you, my friend. I'm passionate about helping people to tell their stories, and video is an important part of my message. It's nice to hear that this material is making a difference - again, many thanks!
2 years, 5 months ago on Your Sales Pitch Stinks, and Here's Why
@RyanKBiddulph Thanks Ryan! I know you provide a lot of inspiration to many - I appreciate your comments ~
2 years, 5 months ago on Motivation, Inspiration and Other Fairy Tales
@RyanKBiddulph Thanks Ryan! In my experience, the ability to effectively communicate your vision is all about being intelligent about the "big picture". Glad you liked the post.
2 years, 5 months ago on Four Words You Can't Lead Without
One of the things that I always valued about seeing you in action was a sense of action. In other e-words, the specific action items always seem to have a timeframe attached, or attempted. I always try to include that sense of "What can we do, today, to move forward on this?" and I usually regret it when I don't. Clarity is the key, as you clearly point out! Great post
2 years, 6 months ago on Do Your Meetings Have Meaning?
@TedRubin @douglaserice Well said!
2 years, 6 months ago on Confession: I'm an Introvert - 7 #Leadership Lessons from @LisaPetrilli
@dbvickery Appreciate the comments! And, I have to say: I'm surprised! We've never met before but your online persona is exceptionally interactive. I admire the way that you stay connected, so your message is very intriguing. I think it takes a great deal of internal horsepower and mental agility to do presentations...(did I just compliment myself? LOL) and coaching as well - so, your "likes" are a testament to your abilties. I guess OUr personalities are just they way that we approach what it is that we enjoy.
2 years, 6 months ago on The Intovert / Extrovert Hoax in Social Media
@TobeyDeys @SteveWoodruff I love this perspective!
@SteveWoodruff I like your style. And, ambivert = Triple word score! J
In all seriousness, I've learned a lot from our interaction - I'm not surprised at the success that you have enjoyed. As one of those folks you "pre-met" via social media, I'm glad we could connect. I'm working to create a trend, with others that I've met online. You "get it", Steve - and your insights have definitely made a difference for me.
@susansilver love it! Yes, I agree - I do a pretty good job of creating a conversation IRL...and, I need to do a better job of staying engaged in the conversation online. I love the way that you say that the question is the invitation - that is SO true!
2 years, 6 months ago on Why the Elevator Pitch Needs an Update @jeffreyhayzlett
@susansilver For me, the secret is creating that "Tell me more". The elevator pitch needs an overhaul - the NEW elevator pitch is about creating the conversation.
One of the interesting things about Jeffrey Hayzlett's book, Running the Gauntlet, is the way that every one of his 35 chapter titles isn't a title at all - it's a tweet. What's your secret for creating a connection in 140 characters or less?
@nickkellet Let me know when! I want to talk about all things BC as well. Select a couple of times right here: https://tungle.me/westfallonline and let's connect
2 years, 6 months ago on Social Media Made Me Anti-Social
Rock solid advice, as usual. Do the job, get the job: an instant classic that never goes out of style. Love it!
2 years, 6 months ago on Leadership: Title Not Required
You had me at "intrigued" ! Great message and great ideas. Thanks for sharing, I plan on using these ideas right away!
2 years, 6 months ago on Who really needs to be intrigued by your headline?
@profkrg I like your perspective - changing the way we define relationships. It's hard to be a "real friend" to an electronic friend...so, why even try? The challenge isn't with social media - it's with applying outdated values to the new normal. So, YES - Redefining the relationship is the key! You've provided an "Aha!" moment for me. Thanks for your comment!
13. Getting the kids off the couch ! :-) Great list, Becky - thanks for sharing!
2 years, 6 months ago on 12 Most Wonderful Things About the Start of School
Doug, your post is right on! While it's true that life is random, story is what helps us to make sense of the chaos, and share perspectives. I speak to a lot of corporations, and in my presentations I rely heavily on story. Story is the thread that connects us and allows us to share ideas in this random reality, in a way that creates a powerful connection.
2 years, 6 months ago on Why Story is the Secret to Everything
@TobeyDeys @SteveWoodruff Do introverts have an advantage in the world of social media? I think so! I need to find these parties that you're talking about.... :-)