The elevator pitch: explaining the "so what?" of your research in 2 minutes or less.

Lab Note #2
Feb 26, 2014

When you hear the word "elevator pitch" do you picture a couple of business types wearing suits and talking widgets in a fancy building downtown? Well this classic communication technique comes in handy for scientists as well. That's why we teach it in our communication course for science graduate students, part of the Engage Program.

From encountering a politician in an elevator, to talking with grandma at thanksgiving dinner, there are lots of opportunities for scientists to use elevator pitches—anytime you want to get somebody interested in a short amount of time, or need to make sure you don't drone on endlessly about your topic. A good pitch has a hook that draws the listener in, tells a story, and makes it clear why somebody should care about your research (answering "so what?").

Here's a few pitches that students in this year's course have been practicing. What do you think?

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