10-21-09 IC Elevator Pitch Guidelines by bhz15729


									              University of Massachusetts Amherst Innovation Challenge (IC)
                                      Elevator Pitch Guidelines

Bill Joos “Perfecting Your Pitch, Part One: Assume Short Buildings” Fast Company viewed
09/29/09. http://www.fastcompany.com/articles/archive/act_joos1.html
Aileen Pincus, “The Perfect (Elevator) Pitch” Business Week, 06/18/07 viewed 09/29/09.
Sean Wise, “I pitch, therefore I am” viewed 09/29/09. Go to:
James Woodward, “The One-Minute Pitch” MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Newsletter,
April 2000, viewed 09/29/09.

Developing the Elevator Pitch
Preparation is the key to making the most of the elevator pitch. Work with your team ahead of
time to compose, practice, and polish a solid pitch that includes key information about your
venture. Review the resources above to see a range of opinions and approaches to form and
content. Teams and individuals each have a different approach to preparing. Three that I have
seen work are:
    1. The entire team discusses information and ideas to be included in the pitch. Once there
       is general agreement, individual team members compose their own pitches and try them
       on the rest of the team. All pitches are discussed and used to build a better team
    2. The entire team discusses information and ideas to be included in the pitch. Once there
       is general agreement, one or two team members develop the first draft.
    3. One team member takes the lead and all others help with revisions and refinements.
Regardless of the process you use, keep in mind the following regarding the elevator pitch itself:
    1. Emphasize the need, solution, team and business case over the technology.
    2. Make it memorable.
    3. Consider writing out the entire pitch to help keep you one message and so that any
       member of your team could deliver it.
    4. If you do write out the pitch, do not read it at the event. Instead, practice your delivery
       so that it is sounds natural.
    5. Avoid jargon or overly technical language.
    6. Don’t try to fit three minutes of information into a two-minute slot by speaking too quickly.
    7. Agree ahead of time on which team member will deliver the pitch.
    8. Practice the oral presentation in front of an audience that is not expert in your field. If
       you can explain to your mother, father, significant other and friend in business you will
       have confidence that the judges will understand your pitch.

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Tips for the Q&A Period
It is important that your team prepare to answer questions after the pitch.
    1. Decide how your team will manage itself during this session. It often works well to have
       each person on the team responsible for a particular subjects {e.g., finance, technology).
    2. Anticipate questions you think you might be asked and think through answers ahead of
       time. One general question each team should be prepared to answer is: “How would
       you use a bigger investment to grow more quickly?”
    3. If you don’t know the answer to a question admit it, adding that you will look into the
       issue and respond.
    4. Avoid making answers overly complicated or technical.
    5. If there is information you want to communicate that did not get included in the pitch,
       look for opportunities to work it into the discussion.
    6. When you practice the elevator pitch (item 6 above), practice answering questions too.
       This is also a good way to anticipate questions you might receive.

Preparing for the Event
In addition to getting the pitch ready to go, you will want to think about the event ahead of time.
Most people are nervous when speaking in public. By preparing in advance you will feel and be
more confident.
    1. Know your audience. Research the judges so that you are aware of your primary
    2. Visit the room. What audiovisual equipment that will be used? Where will you stand?
       Will you be able to move around if you want? Have the team member who will be
       pitching practice in the room if possible.
    3. Imagine the overall event. How many people will be in the general audience? How will
       you dress?
    4. Ask some friends to attend to support your effort.
    5. Plan to have fun. The Innovation Challenge provides a range of benefits for all
       participants including a great learning experience and the opportunity to network with
       judges and others who attend.

At the Event
Relax and enjoy yourselves! Innovation Challenge audiences are very supportive and everyone
respects the teams for participating.

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