Ways to distinguish yourself – #53 Always be ready to win the boxing game

Ways to distinguish yourself – #53 Always be ready to win the boxing game

By Rajesh Setty on Sun 30 Oct 2005, 6:15 AM – 6 Comments

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

“boxing” game.

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.


Related Articles:

Posted in the Distinguish yourself, Main Page category.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend   

6 Comments so far, Add Yours

Anonymous  on October 30th, 2005

As a software entrepreneur and advisor to other entrepreneurs, I find that consistent messaging is the most difficult of personal marketing challenges. This seems to be as true for a person who finds herself playing “the boxing game” with a new acquaintance, as it is for the entrepreneur pitching his idea in an elevator speech.

As a “sender” in the boxing game we understand a great deal about our strengths. Each of us is a multi-faceted personality able to add value in many different ways. Jack may be a software engineer, but also a project manager and volunteer firefighter. Janet may be an attorney, but also a marathon runner. What first impression do we

want to communicate to our new acquaintance in that precious first conversation?

I would enjoy hearing Rajesh talk about how to sort through a person’s alternative value propositions to achieve consistent messaging when playing the boxing game.

Anonymous  on October 30th, 2005

Thanks Alan. That’s a great question. Here is my $.02 on that topic.

Whenever you meet someone new, the person is interested in talking about whatever he is interested in talking. The same with us – we are interested to talk about matters of our interest. The key is to break the logjam and start talking about whatever the other person is interested in talking. Your time will come for sure but we need to have patience.

During the boxing game, the winner will make sure that he is VERY relevant in some fashion to the other person. So if Jack is indeed a software engineer, project manager and a volunteer firefighter in this scenario – the decision about with which he should lead totally depends on what would be relevant to the other person. Of course, he can then cover the other two. He should also be willing to skip something if it is totally not relevant to the other person as people have a tendency to “switch off” if they can’t fully understand what is being communicated.



Anonymous  on October 31st, 2005

Raj, Sent you an email about this and then thought I should post it as a comment. I recently wrote about “boxing” from a slightly different perspective. Link.

I talked about the boxes that staffing/HR/hiring managers use to fill positions. You’re right. It is about how you distinguish yourself. (And also not working with companies with such a lack of innovative thought).

As a hiring manager myself, I always try to look AND LISTEN for that special “thing” that a candidate brings to the table. What will distinguish them from 20 identical candidates.

Elevator pitch – You need it. Now! | Life Beyond Code  on January 1st, 2010

[…] Rajesh Setty on Fri 01 Jan 2010, 12:17 PM – Leave Comment I wrote a while ago, that you are always in a boxing game. People want to “box” you whether you want it or not. If that is happening anyway, why […]

Jann Freed  on January 2nd, 2010

Rajesh-I would be interested in knowing what you think of my website and blog. Based on your blog posts, you perspective and feedback are welcome. Thanks. What do you think? Thanks

Rajesh Setty  on January 2nd, 2010


I will definitely take a look but unfortunately won’t have the time to provide comments on a 1-1 basis. Don’t want to set the wrong expectation.

You can kindly check out my blogging starter checklist where I have written extensively on blogging




Leave a Comment