Sparking conversations vs. elevator pitching

elevator pitch, conversations,
What conversations will you spark today?

When we sit down to craft our ‘elevator pitch’, we generally ask ourselves: “What do I want people to know about me and my organization?”

That’s the wrong question.

The right question is: “What words can I use to spark conversations that will make my community better, stronger and more vibrant?”  

Your elevator pitch is a gateway to a better world. Every time you talk to someone about your work, it’s an opportunity to spark a conversation about building that better world.

Are you building a better world by ending poverty, hunger or bullying? How about world-class theater or breath-taking sculpture? Or maybe your better-world convos center around sustainability, transportation and housing?

If you focus solely on you and your organization rather than sparking a conversation, you’re missing out on the building-a-better-world boat.

So ask yourself: what conversations will I spark today?

Connection and Community in Record Time

I have a friend, Mrs. G, who is an incredibly gifted elementary school teacher. She subs regularly at our kids’ school. This morning, I heard her voice coming from one of the Kindergarten classrooms. It was circle time. I was intrigued to learn how she would navigate this important part of the day when kids transition from home to classroom. The teacher plays a key role in creating a sense of community and smoothing the transition. How do you create that safe space when you don’t know the kids?!

I stopped just outside the door to listen (yes, yes, I eavesdropped).

Sometimes, it’s the small stuff that really matters. Mrs. G did something that was so subtle yet so effective. She said each of their names, made sure she was saying it correctly and then said, “Hello, Jimmy.” One student’s name was Kate on the roster and the student said she preferred Katie. So Mrs. G said, “Thank you for letting me know which you prefer. Hello, Katie.”  In 11 words, or 60 characters, she created a connection and welcomed the student to the community.

What’s so great about this? Her goal was to create connection and community in record time. If she had simply called off their names to make sure they were present, she would’ve been able to check something off her to-do list (attendance–check!), but wouldn’t have achieved her goal.

We can do a lot without achieving a lot. Mrs. G did a little and achieved a lot because she was clear on her goal.

Are you clear on your goals?