Elevator Pitch Exercise or Assignment
Lesson Type: Assignment or presentation activity Goal: Students develop a concise 60 second
presentation designed to entice investors to fund their ideas. Focus on clarity, simplicity, and
brevity. Make writing relevant to non-humanities students. Context: Prior to summary exercise
This American Life “Million Dollar Idea” http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-
Play the relevant portions of the audio from the link above.
Relevant Portions: 8:30 - 10:30 Intro 10:30 - 11:00 Essentials to a successful pitch
<straightforward, in a style your grandparents can understand, minimal jargon, qualifications,
partners> 11:00 - 13:00 Example #1 <Harrison Ford and prostate cancer treatment> 13:00 -
14:20 What investors look for <better, cheaper, marketability, change the world> 14:20 - 16:30
Example #2 <nanotechnology / concrete> -Optional- 16:30 - 19:30 Odd Pitch <Dog waste
solution> Time: 8-11 minutes
Task: Break into groups of 4-5. Give each group a subject for an elevator pitch by assigning each
group an article from a popular science periodical (National Geographic, Smithsonian, Popular
Mechanics, etc.) or allow them to come up with their own.
Time: 5 Minutes to assign and answer questions, 20-30 minutes working in groups.
Presentations: Groups read their proposals against a 60 second clock. Students and instructor ask
follow-up questions and suggest improvements. Time: 15 Minutes
Total time: 50-65 Minutes