Why I Wear a Unique Whistle – Articulating Important Messages on the Fly header image

Why I Wear a Unique Whistle – Articulating Important Messages on the Fly

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Credit: fallingwhistles.com

One Saturday I was at happy hour with some friends on a Portland rooftop bar when a guy asked me if I was wearing a dog whistle. For those who don’t know me well, dog whistles aren’t my style.

But I was ecstatic he asked.  In fact, I was eagerly waiting for someone to ask. Realistically I knew I had about 30 seconds of his attention to tell him about my special whistle. Although I rambled a bit, I explained the meaning. We parted ways but I couldn’t help but think, “Did I really help him ‘get it’?”

Looking back, I wish I used Distinction’s 3-step ‘elevator pitch’ model. I would have responded to his question like this:


“You know how you see news reports and images of children holding machine guns and being forced to fight in civil wars in Africa?

Well Falling Whistles is a nonprofit that was inspired by the horrific story of five young boys who escaped from forced fighting in the Congo.  The organization sells whistles because young children too weak to carry guns are sent to the front lines of war with a small whistle to blow when they see the enemy.  Tragically they are the first to get killed. 

The results are, through this fundraising and because of the increased awareness, Falling Whistles is able to partner with Congolese leaders to rehabilitate and advocate for those affected by the war.

Pretty amazing stuff. And you can buy these online.”


 That’s what I wish I would have said. It’s hard to be articulate on the fly, even with topics like where we work or what we do. So here are the three easy steps:

 “You know how…” 
“Well we…”
“The results are…”

I still get intrigued looks when I wear my whistle, but not everyone asks about it. When they do, I’ll be much more prepared to share the story about the whistle that hangs over my heart.



Podcast: Click here for a Distinction podcast that unpacks the 3 step elevator pitch a bit deeper.

Falling Whistles: To watch the compelling story of how the five Congolese boys inspired Falling Whistles, go to www.fallingwhistles.com/story

Credit: fallingwhistles.com