ORIGINALLY POSTED FEBRUARY 2017
You’ve heard of the elevator pitch, right? It’s the idea that you get on an elevator, and someone asks you, “what do you do?” or “what are you working on?”, etc. You have the length of an elevator ride (30 seconds to a minute) to explain what you do or what your idea is – in a way that makes sense to the listener.
This is far easier said than done; but it is incredibly important to do, especially if you want to explain your work around pathways and draw other people into the work with you.
Michael Hyatt, in his book “Platform. Get Noticed in a Noisy World” says that an elevator pitch should contain four components:
- Your product name and category
- The program you are attempting to solve
- Your proposed solution
- The key benefit of your solution
I spent some time recently trying to explain the elevator pitch for my latest book. Since the book is all about pathways and pathways system, essentially it’s a pitch for the work around pathways. Here’s the 30-second pitch for pathways that I came up with:
1 (product name and category)
Hi, I (my organization) is working on a very important education and workforce strategy — the Power and Promise of Pathways.
2 (the problem)
Too many students don’t understand how education connects to their future, or how to make good decisions about careers and college.
3 (the proposed solution)
In the Pathways System approach, students learn about career options; they see the world of work; they try out career programs, and they learn to make smart decisions.
4 (the benefit)
Through this approach, school starts to make sense, student work harder, and they make smoother transitions to college and good careers, which leads to a better life.
You may have noticed that this 30-second version really focuses mostly on the education perspective. I created a longer version (1 minute) that also touches more on the employer perspective and the value for adult learners and communities.
So, how would you make your elevator pitch?
- What is your “product” name?
- What is the problem your working to solve?
- What is the proposed solution?
- What are the benefits?
Here’s a link to the video by Hyatt explaining the concept.
By the way, I wrote an entire book on this topic before I actually created this very useful elevator pitch! Don’t make the same mistake! You will find this exercise incredibly beneficial for bringing clarity to your work and helping others understand the essence of the pathways movement.
Hans Meeder is President of NC3T, the National Center for College and Career Transitions (www.nc3t.com). NC3T provides planning, coaching, technical assistance and tools to help community-based leadership teams plan and implement their college-career pathway systems and strengthen employer connections with education