Selling your idea in just one minute
Entrepreneurs very often need to introduce themselves, their business idea, their products or services to various people.  The ultimate goal of these introductory speeches is to call their audience to action: “buy!”, “invest!”, “download!’, ‘get!’, ‘call!’, ‘email!’. But as time is money, their audience – their potential investor, customer or partner – do not have time to listen too long. That is exactly how the art of making a short, persuasive speech was born – as the urban legend says – somewhere in Hollywood where a screenwriter would (supposedly) catch and convince an unsuspecting executive on an elevator ride.

The term elevator pitch has been used ever since to describe a brief speech that succinctly presents an idea for a product, service or project. (That is short enough to be delivered in the short time period of an elevator ride.)

Are you interested in finding out how you can engage, influence or convince others with just a limited number of sentences?  This quest helps you to learn the main ingredients of a convincing elevator pitch.
Imagine an extreme situation: in a conference break, you meet the ideal customer for your business in the elevator. He asks you about your business and you know you have just a few seconds to capture his/her attention. This is a chance you cannot miss! You need to deliver an “elevator pitch”: a succinct, consistent and engaging presentation of your business!

Even if you might not meet your dream customer or investor in an elevator, the shorter and more engaging the presentation of your business is, the more chances you have to be heard and taken seriously by people you meet.

If you do not yet have a business idea, you can create a short speech presenting your background and experience to introduce yourself to career connections in a compelling way. 

Elevator pitches are mostly used by start-ups, but they teach you skills that are useful in various situations.

In this webquest, we guide you to different online sources and provoke you to build and provide a short and powerful overview of your business idea. Once you have a business idea and a pitch that resonated well with your team, you can even decide to enter a pitch competition, a seminar that is created for entrepreneurs with new business ideas who present, usually quickly, their ideas to attract investors.
Practice, improve, check out videos on public speaking “tricks”, then present your pitch in front of your colleagues!

You will first need to learn more about pitching. There are plenty of resources on the internet that explain you what a “pitch” is good for (and what it is not suitable for), how long it should last, what elements it should contain and what you should avoid in order to stay clear of boredom and inefficiency. Once you have read a few “recipes”, you and your colleagues will have to compile your own rules for the pitches that you will produce and present. Agree on the length and the most important features! You will work hard to carve a pitch – one presenting your business idea, or – if you do not have one – your professional profile.

Here is your step-by-step guide:
1. Think about a business idea!
Do you have a business idea? Can you think of one? If not, do you know well any start-up (perhaps a friend’s or a family member’s new business) whose values you can identify with? Contact them and try to find out as much as possible about their mission. If you would like, you can prepare a personal pitch too, “selling” yourself to a future employer.
In any of the above cases, you first have to be sure that you have enough and detailed information about the “object” of your pitch. Think about your business idea in detail (like drafting a business plan). If you make a pitch for an existing business, use online and offline resources to gather information about it. If you prepare a personal pitch, review your CV.
2. Learn about “elevator pitches”.
There are a couple of rules you should consider. Read the guidelines for a successful pitch from a couple of sources, view a few successful, even prize-winning start-up pitches on YouTube and also check out how the “biggest” presenters of recent times (e.g. Steve Jobs) conveyed their message.
3. Work in teams to make your groups’ rules for pitching
You will see that various sources on the internet define pitching in slightly different ways, and also successful pitches are varied in terms of content and length. Therefore, to make sure you can assess the pitches you and your colleagues will carve, you will need a common set of standards, rules. In small groups (5-4 persons), make a list with 7 rules for a successful pitch. (Remember to include the desired length as one of the rules.) Then, in the whole group, negotiate the rules of the small groups so that you have one common list of rules that applies to all.
4. Carve your pitch!
Once you have the idea that you want to promote, and you know what a successful pitch looks (and sounds) like, try to compile your own pitch. Use the tips and tricks that different online sources suggest, both on writing and perfecting your pitch. Just like everything else, pitches can also have some drawbacks. Read about them and avoid them. Practice your pitch before first presenting it in public.
5. Get feedback from your small group
Once you think you are ready with your pitch, present it to your small group and ask for their honest and constructive feedback. Before presenting it, you might want to watch a few videos on public speaking and on how to use your voice and your body language to be more convincing.
Let your colleagues video record your pitch, so that you can watch it and learn from your mistakes.
You will receive feedback on your pitch and you will also give feedback to your groupmates, based on the commonly agreed rules (step 3.)
6. Improve your pitch
Based on your colleagues’ feedback and the video recording, improve your pitch and practice more for a better presentation. If you have identified specific weaknesses/ mistakes, you can go back to the internet and search for tips on how to correct them.
7. Present your pitch to the whole group
Present your pitch to the whole group and listen to your colleagues’ presentations.
Take notes while listening and give feedback to your colleagues.
Following each presentation, discuss the strong and week points in the presentation, the common aspects and the differences in interpretation.
8. Debriefing
After the presentations and follow-up discussions you should be able to answer these questions: resized/uploaded---tiny---images---leirasokba/800/800/sec-entrepreneurship-process.jpg
- How can you awake your audience’s curiosity?
- Which are the key elements of conveying a convincing message in a short time?
- What are the characteristics of a successful pitch?
- What are the main aspects everyone should pay attention to, when speaking in public?
Evaluation and Learning Outcomes
After the completion of this webquest, learners will be able to:

Knowledge Skills Attitudes
· Fundamental knowledge on public speaking rules and techniques
· Fundamental knowledge of information search tools
· Basic knowledge of presentation techniques
· Make use of effective communication to call your audience to action
· Design a short, coherent text to convey a message to an audience
· Present a short text to convey a message to an audience
· Research, gather and organize information
· Identify the characteristics of a successful pitch
· Create a pitch to
· Communicate an idea through a pitch in a public presentation
· Identify the strong and week points of a pitch
· Demonstrate critical sense in
analysing instructions and selecting the ones that meet their own goal
· Demonstrate critical sense in evaluating elevator pitches
· Demonstrate autonomy and responsibility in the execution of tasks
· Contribute to achieving the team’s goal
· Give constructive feedback
In our quickly changing world, we are all short of time and abundant with information. Entrepreneurs have only a very short time available to present their solutions to the customers and investors who face a flood of similar offers every day. Pitching is a good solution in this respect: giving a concise and engaging presentation to the chosen target group. It might seem easy to deliver such a short talk, but to present a convincing pitch, you have to invest lots of energy in carving and practising it.