Mastering the Elevator Pitch

The project I am apart of at ArticuLab this summer is the Rapport-Aligning Peer Tutoring (RAPT) project. This week in our staff meeting we had to prepare and present an “elevator pitch” to everyone in the lab. An elevator pitch is an under 30 second speech trying to sell your research.

So the scenario goes: You are at a research conference and lets say you enter an elevator with Bill Gates. You have only five floors to make your case to him on why your research is so important and to spark his interest. This interest should hopefully lead to funding for your research.

With elevator speeches, you are trying to sell your research. Therefore, a great source for inspiration are infomercials. An elevator pitch should not be wordy or complicated by tons of technical terms. Instead, it should spark interest in the listener. As a researcher, funding is crucial to any project and the more you understand how to sell your work in a manner that reveals its importance to a person outside the field, the more likely you will receive the funds you need.

Below is a small example of an elevator pitch I came up with for the RAPT – the project I am working on:

Education disparities between the poor and rich is a real problem. Tutoring should be an avenue to help close this gap, however, the cost of tutoring have made it an avenue only for the rich. What if I told you we could provide highly-effective, low cost, maybe even free, tutoring to all? My research focuses on creating a virtual tutor that can develop meaningful conversation with its student. Meaningful conversation or rapport is crucial to effective tutoring. It is our goal to create an effective, rapport-building virtual tutor which could act as a key to helping to eliminate educational disparities.

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