Putting Your Pitch Together: Elevator Speech Examples

Learn by example: see Leslie Tolbert and Scott Thompson’s scientific descriptions transform from jargon into understandable language with just a few simple tricks. Also find out where you can use elevator speeches, what non-scientists like most to hear, and what to do and what to avoid.

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Leslie Tolbert, PhD
As a neuroscience faculty member for more than 30 years, first at Georgetown University and then at the University of Arizona (UA), Leslie P. Tolbert has been active in teaching and research, including generating grant support and writing papers for scientific journals, and also in community outreach, speaking with grade-school students and community groups. Leslie served as UA's vice president for research from 2005 to 2013. In this role, she worked with scholars across the campus and shared the importance of their work with potential funders, legislators, business leaders, and citizens, locally, nationally, and internationally. Leslie twice presented testimony to U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology subcommittee.
Scott Thompson, PhD
Scott Thompson is the chair of the department of physiology and professor of physiology and psychiatry at University of Maryland School of Medicine. His research focus is primarily on the biological basis of depression. Using realistic animal models of depression, he has formulated a new way of thinking about what's wrong in the depressed brain, enabling his lab to develop a novel class of drugs as rapidly acting antidepressants. He has served in leadership positions at SfN as Program Committee chair and, currently, as Public Education and Communication Committee chair. One of his goals in this capacity is to promote the ability of all SfN members to communicate their science to the general public.

Sparking Global Conversations Around Neuroscience