Why make an elevator pitch?
Making a Pitch Effective
Once you have the opportunity to talk to someone, the first step is to introduce yourself. Let people know your name, where you are working, and your occupation. Giving some introductory information immediately gives your audience critical context. This is essential whether you are meeting for the first time or if you have met before; it can give your audience a good prompt. Not everyone has a good memory for faces and names, so don’t be discouraged if an individual doesn’t remember you.
Making a Connection
Throughout the conversation, don’t use too much jargon, and ensure your description isn’t too technical and detailed.4 Try to infer the level of comfort your audience has with your area of expertise or research project and adjust accordingly—do they work in your field, or is their core expertise in a different subject? It is important to demonstrate that you know your area, but not if it makes your audience feel left behind or confused. Making simple changes to your prepared pitch, such as explaining acronyms or refraining from unnecessary detail, can help ensure your audience stays engaged.
Keeping a Connection
Once you have made a connection, it is essential to maintain it by clarifying what the next steps are, and it is ideal if you can memorably close the conversation by talking about an "action step" like stating you will send them an email to follow up and connect later. It is best to choose an action that leaves you in the driver's seat rather than waiting for the other person.
Below is an example of how to curate a compelling pitch.
Hi, my name is Jane Doe. I'm a postdoc at Prestigious Institution. Nice to meet you.
Establish a link
I'm working in the field of Exciting Science, and I read one of your papers yesterday—I thought the series of experiments you did to prove X was impressive. Have you, or are you considering looking at Y?
Explain your intention
I am interested in using a similar set of experiments to answer question Z. Would you or your lab be open to collaborating on this project?
Exchanging info and following up
Thanks so much. I'll email you a copy of my recent paper and some potential meeting times to discuss further. I look forward to speaking with you again very soon.
Exploring Online Opportunities
Putting It All Together
- Pain, E. How to network effectively. Science. October 27, 2015.
- How can you make your application stand out? Imperial College Business School. January 8, 2023.
- Ward, AF. The Neuroscience of Everyone's Favourite Topic. Scientific American. July 16, 2013.
- Pamplona, F. Science communication: Everything you need to know about it to thrive. editage insights. May 20,2022. Accessed August 2023.
- Valenti, A. Fortuna, G. Barillari, C. Cannone, E. Boccuni, V. Lavicoli, S. The future of scientific conferences in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic: Critical analysis and future perspectives. Industrial Health. 2021;59:334-339.
- 10 Top tips for attending a virtual conference. Scientifica.
- Daley, K. How to communicate effectively over Zoom. Ledding Group. September 15, 2021.