In March, Chris Westfall visited Indiana State University to do workshops in the business and communication departments, talk to students and hold a elevator pitch speech to students, faculty, staff and the general Terre Haute public. His visit was a great thing for Indiana State, especially the students. Westfall is great at what he does and can really teach you to brand yourself well and how to be rememberable. There were many takeaways from his visit that I experienced.
- He was very skilled at speaking directly to you. When I say this, I mean he looks deep into your eyes and is basically talking to your soul. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I first met him at Launch Terre Haute for a pizza party and I had asked him how I can get over my fear of talking in front of crowds. He told me that my message has to be greater than my fear. I have to be able to understand that people are there to hear what I have to say and are not there to judge me. Although there are judgmental people out there, he reminded me to remember that my message that I am trying to put across is greater than them and I need to be confident in myself. That word of advice will stick with me forever no matter where I go in life.
- Westfall also gave a speech that we need to stick out. During his elevator pitch, he showed a picture of a batch of strawberries, but there was one blue (or some people thought it was purple) strawberry that was sticking out of the crowd. This was important because he gave us tips on how we can stand out in a crowd and be noticed and remembered! I always knew that being remembered was important, especially in the PR world, but the tips he gave, like finding a way to connect with whomever you’re talking to, are things that I take with me to networking events and things that will work.
- The last thing that stuck with me is his speech about perception and that not everyone will see the same thing as you. In his speech, he showed a picture of a stairway and only a few people saw the man underneath. This proved to me that not everyone sees the world the way I do and I have to remember that at all times. Perception is very important because just because someone does not think the way you do, does not mean their way of thinking is wrong.
The Westfall visit was amazing and if it was up to me, he would come annually and give a speech for people who were not able to be there because he left some awesome words of advice for us. And being able to actually have a one-on-one conversation with him was an added bonus!