In business you will always hear about the value of having your ‘elevator pitch’ carefully planned and memorised. Whether it is about the product, the service, the company, or something else, it is an important weapon in your pocket.
So, what is the ‘elevator pitch’? Penny Loretto writing on the About.com Internship website describes the practice that is the ‘elevator pitch’ as coming:
“… from the time it takes to complete a normal elevator ride from the top to the bottom floor. An ‘elevator speech’ is an opportunity to get your point across in a timely manner; namely, who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and where you hope to go in the future.”
Aileen Pincus, writing for Bloomsberg BusinessWeek, defines the pitch, for a business, as:
“One of the most important things a businessperson can do—especially an owner or someone who is involved in sales—is learn how to speak about their business to others. Being able to sum up unique aspects of your service or product in a way that excites others should be a fundamental skill.”
So why are so few people in academia aware or prepared for this? I have only ever heard of this approach mentioned once at University when I overheard a supervisor talking to his student preparing to embark on her PhD. She was advised to have her ‘elevator pitch’ ready for meetings, conferences, chance encounters, etc so she could succinctly explain, in 30 seconds or under, everything her PhD will cover and accomplish.
Since I started attending conferences (and presenting at them too!) I have been aware that I ought to be a little more prepared for the chance meeting and the “so, who are you and what do you do?” question. I have also found approach the ‘elevator pitch’ takes is a good opportunity to explain what I do each day to someone who does not know or understand what a Learning Technologist is. With new staff joining the Business School all the time this approach is also used as we introduce ourselves around the table to each other.
So, here’s mine, based on an introduction to a new member of staff:
“Hi, I’m David Hopkins and I am a Learning Technologist in the Business School. I work closely with the academic and administrative teams in the School on all aspects of the VLE (myBU) as well as supplementary systems that include lecture capture, audience response handsets, use of video in the classroom, and other pedagogic applications for existing and developing technologies that encourage student engagement and enhance the student experience. I look forward to working with you.”
A bit of a mouthful I know, but each time I have to do this it changes depending on what I’ve been working on that morning, who I’m talking to, what mood I’m in, whether the conversation is based on work, training, research, etc. When I’m out and about at conferences the ‘pitch’ is tailored to the discipline and topic of the conference, as well as the person I’m talking to. ProtoScholar writes an excellent blog and his/her (?) post “The Academic Elevator Pitch” is worth a read, if for nothing other than the details on what the pitch should encapsulate.
Come on then dear reader(s), what is your ‘elevator pitch’? Do you have one? Do you want to leave a comment about mine? Please leave any and all comments below.
Image from Derek Key