Have you participated in a boxing contest before?
I bet most of you will answer “No” to the above question. That’s if you
take the question literally. This was of course a trick question. Let
me explain why we play and mostly lose in the boxing contest almost
When you meet someone for the first time and you start to get to know
each other, the first few minutes go by with each one giving an
individual elevator pitch to the other. Let’s paint a scenario here.
Jack meets Janet and they start talking. Jack explains who he is and
what he does for a living and Janet does the same. While Jack is
speaking and giving his spiel, Janet is very busy in her mind trying to
“box” Jack with something. She is basically looking for some keywords
“Software Engineer”, “Attorney”, “Project Manager”, “Doctor” something
that will make it easy for her to remember. Don’t worry Jack will do
the same for Janet. It’s a real “boxing” contest.
By the way there is nothing wrong with this approach. Let’s not blame
Jack and Janet – we are all victims of this in our daily life and we
are all guilty of doing this to others. It makes sense too. Here’s why
– When Janet finishes her meeting with Jack and later meets an old
friend Paul, Janet wants something easy and simple to explain who she
met. It’s easy to say “I met Jack for coffee and he is a software
engineer” than give the whole spiel she heard from Jack.
There is hope though. If Jack and made a compelling elevator speech,
something that is memorable and remarkable, Janet would be compelled to
say a few more words about Jack. In effect, Jack would have won the
I have to say that this requires more than communication skills. They
are necessary but not sufficient. You need to be working on something
that is remarkable or be remarkable yourself.
Summary: You are constantly
being “boxed”. Work towards something remarkable so that you are always
ready to win the boxing game. Learn to communicate well and be relevant. Make it a point to give a compelling elevator speech.