Biophysical Society Bulletin | February 2023
The30-SecondCompellingElevator Pitch for Scientists When I was in the job market, I made sure I attended conferences where I got to meet experts and network. This would provide me much-needed visibility for a trainee, and I would talk about the exciting research I was doing. My mentor introduced me to experts in the field during social events and that was my chance to shine and talk about my work. But I realized I was taking too attention. Your speech should give them a reason to think you will bring in new ideas and skills and that they’d like to learn more in a second meeting. In my experience, the lay crowd is impressed by a different pitch. This pitch should be more on the application of your work. The listener might not understand your science, but they can relate to an emotional or financial problem. For example, many families include someone with heart disease, and the only therapy for heart disease may be a device im plant, which is expensive. In this situation, your pitch should include: 1) the big picture of the problem, 2) what amazing therapy you have designed or what your research will contrib ute, and 3) clinical implications. This pitch does not hammer the details of your research, but it highlights the importance of your work. Offer a vivid example, like “have you heard of disease X? It affects 200,000 children every year in the United States alone. I identified a protein that causes the disease.
much time to introduce my work. The attention span during these events is very short, so I needed to come up with a 30-second pitch that described my interests, goals, and nov elty of my research with different degrees of detail. I needed an elevator pitch! A skillfully crafted pitch effectively communicates your unique value and highlights the critical questions you are asking, and you don’t have to rush for an appropriate response to fill pauses. It is designed to produce a favorable first impression on the audience. Most elevator rides last less than a minute. As a result, the pitches should last no longer than 30 seconds and should be comprised of approximately 80–90 words or three to five sentences. You are not alone if you think that your research is too complex to explain in such a short period, and you’d be right! Remember that an elevator pitch aims to pique your lis tener’s interest in learning more about your work by agreeing to a second meeting with you. So, how do you best make use of your 30 seconds? For an expert audience, your elevator pitch can quickly leap into the critical question. We do not need to introduce heart failure or cancer to experts. Here, the pitch should include: 1) the big question, 2) the novel idea solution you are proposing, and 3) the impact of your work in the field. Remember that being able to do many experiments does not necessarily make you an amazing scientist. Identifying a big critical question does! Highlight the question you have identified. It will grab their
Because of my work, we can now develop therapies by targeting Y and this will save the lives of children.” Finally, take your time writing down your elevator pitch, prac tice it, and try to use as little scientific terminology as possi ble. Here is a checklist that I made after researching elevator pitches: 1. Write down everything you want to say. 2. Cut the scientific jargon and details. Use strong, short, and powerful sentences. Eliminate unnecessary words. 3. Be mindful of the flow—how your previous sentence connects to the next one. 4. Memorize and practice . 5. Address why your audience should be interested in you. 6. Create different versions for different audiences.
Good luck creating an elevator pitch of your own! — Molly Cule
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