Drafting Your Elevator Speech? Start Here
The elevator speech is a framework to talk about what you do — and ideally can be delivered in the length of time it takes to ride an elevator. This concise introduction to yourself and your research can set the stage for the rest of your conversation or presentation—or be the chat that gets you that next position.
Whether you are in a scientific setting at a conference, meeting, or reception, or speaking to the public, elevator speeches are extremely useful. Here’s how to begin.
- Break your pitch up into three parts: the introduction, the research problem, and the relevance to your audience.
- Make sure you explain who you are, what you do, and why your listener should care, in no more than 30 seconds.
Things to Remember
- Write down your pitch and practice it out loud.
- Keep it short — time yourself and aim for 30 seconds.
- Avoid jargon.
- Focus on the big picture.
- Tailor the pitch for your audience.
- BrainFacts.org has articles that may be able to help you determine accessible ways to approach your topic with nonscientists.
- Research!America has tools, such as factsheets, polling data, fun factoids, and reports.
Remember to tell your story and not your data. Keep it compelling and easy to follow.
Adapted from a presentation by Suzanne Ffolkes, vice president of communications at Research!America, during the webinar, Communicating Your Science to the Non-Expert, hosted by SfN’s Public Education and Communication Committee.