Overview: This speaking activity encourages students to focus their argument by asking them to construct a pithy, brief "pitch" that they iteratively revise after delivering.
Author: Russ Carpenter (adapted from activities by ChristineAlfano, Patti Hanlon-Baker)
Activity name: The Elevator Pitch
Class: PWR 2
Activity brief description: The “elevator pitch” is a concise, well-rehearsed statement that average strangers (people who don’t know your subject) could understand. The idea is that you could make the “pitch” quickly to small groups (one or two people). The pitches are deigned to be adapted on the fly to the feedback of your audience. In the version attached, students prepare their pitches in one session and pitch their project at a mixer with another class in the next session. Alternatively, this works well as a good low stakes speaking exercise where students pitch to their fellow classmates within one class session.
Schedule: Week 2, 3, 4 or 5 (This works well after students have a topic. It helps students really hone their research problem in preparation for their proposal. It also helps students refine their focus and get useful audience feedback about their project as they work on the research paper/presentation.)
Activity length: This activity can happen within 50 minutes during one class or be spread out over a longer time in two class sessions. The version in the handout is based on a two class session model.
Activity details: See the handout.
Additional notes: Here’s how I break down the activity during class time:
This activity was originally featured as an Activity of the Week in winter 2014.