Making a good impression. Being memorable. Commanding respect and attention. Having an elevator pitch. All worthy, all very fleeting, opportunities. But how do you get there?

Get out of the weeds and go up to 30,000 ft., that’s how!

Easier said than done, so let’s start with baby steps. First, challenge yourself to recognize the difference between a message and information. A message is a visionary, thematic, or bigger picture statement … it’s the super high-altitude stuff. A message conveys value or benefit or significance. Information is data, lists, or examples. Information conveys features … it’s the weeds. Information obviously is useful and often necessary, but it can get lost – and your point can get lost – if it’s not packaged and wrapped inside of a message. Think WHY vs. WHAT; and think about why first, and then what.

Take, for example, the all-important personal introduction or elevator pitch for yourself, your organization, or your project. Needs to be brief. Needs to make a good impression. Needs to be memorable. Needs to command respect and attention. Rather than introducing yourself with name, rank and serial number (all hardcore info), go up to 30,000 ft and introduce yourself with a statement of why, a statement of vision, or a statement of value. Time permitting, you can then layer on some information.

Going up to 30,000 ft. and “going big” on messaging is hard, it takes some thought and some work. It may even take some poking and prodding from a friend or a coach. But if you can get there, the impression you leave will be enormously improved.

Your professional role may or may not demand that you be at 30,000 ft all the time, but certainly when time is limited and you need to be brief, you have no choice but to get out of the weeds and go straight up to 30,000 ft.

The view of you will be better when you’re up there!

Beth Levine