The primary purpose of an elevator pitch exercise is to train and assist participants in developing their ability to concisely communicate the value of their concept (i.e., to distil their message/idea/project to its core - focusing on the most important and impactful points). This is essential for grabbing the attention of potential project collaborators, stakeholders, or anyone who can help them achieve their goals. In a workshop/training setting, it also creates an opportunity for different participants to learn what their peers’ ideas/projects are about, and to help them practice their communication skills.


The elevator pitch workshop method is a structured activity that is intended to allow individuals or groups to practice crafting and communicating a ‘pitch‘ (a concise, persuasive presentation) that summarises the essence of their project/idea. They are provided guidance to draft a compelling pitch about a concept, a project, or even themselves in the span of time it takes to ride an elevator - typically 30 seconds to 2 minutes. (The name "elevator pitch" comes from the idea that you should be able to convey your message within the time it takes for a brief elevator ride, catching the attention of your audience and leaving them with a memorable impression). After presenting their pitch, they are provided with constructive feedback.




There is no strict minimum number of people required for an elevator pitch session. The larger the number of participants/groups, however, the more time will be required (see below).


Minimum 30 minutes | F2F & Online

Note: The exercise can take longer, depending on the group size. (Each participant or group requires 2 minutes maximum to present their ‘pitch’. Time is also required to explain the exercise and to give feedback).


Participants should have notepads or devices to capture their own individual/their group’s notes as they prepare their pitch.


It can be helpful for the facilitator to inform the participants in advance of the elevator pitch concept, e.g. by sharing/emailing them a short pre-reading that explains the format and encouraging them to come prepared with ideas for the session.


Online version: If the exercise will be facilitated online, the facilitator should inform participants beforehand that they will need to be able to use their microphone and (optionally) turn on their camera to present their pitch


Step 1

The exercise starts with the workshop facilitator briefly (re-) introducing the elevator pitch method’s purpose and format to participants.

Step 2

The facilitator then provides an overview of the key components of a successful elevator pitch, including identifying their idea/project's unique ‚selling points‘ (or value), structuring the pitch effectively, and using storytelling techniques to make their message memorable).

Step 3

Participants then have opportunities to craft their pitches. (If they are working in project groups, they can draft a pitch together – otherwise, they can work individually). The facilitator allows anything between 10 and 30 minutes for this phase. While the participants work on their pitches, the facilitator can move between them and answer any questions that may arise.

Online version: Participants can mute their mic and turn off their camera while they work individually, or use the breakout room to collaboratively craft a group project‘s pitch. The facilitator can stay on the call to answer any questions that may arise.

Step 4

5 Minutes before their time has run out to craft their pitches, the facilitator alerts them of the time they have left, so that everyone can start wrapping up their writing.

Step 5

Each participant (or group) then has the opportunity to present their pitch. (The facilitator keeps time and stops them after e.g., 30 seconds, 1 minute or 2 minutes – whichever timeframe was agreed upon at the start).

Step 6

After each pitch, the facilitator allows a short, predetermined amount of time to provide (or allow the rest of the group to provide) the presenter/presenting group with constructive feedback. (The focus of the feedback should be on helping each presenter refine their communication skills. Positive aspects of the pitch should also be praised).

Step 7

At the end of the Elevator Pitch session, the facilitator leads a brief reflection phase. The participants can share what they have learned from presenting their own pitches, as well as from the opportunity to listen to others.

  • The exercise should be well-structured and time allocation should be adhered to. Elevator pitches have to be concise to be effective.
  • It is always advisable for the facilitator to collect feedback from participants to learn what worked well and what could be improved for future elevator pitch activities.

This exercise summary draws from the practical experience of the database contributors, as well as the following resources:

Kenton, W (2022). What Is an Elevator Pitch? Definition and How They're Used. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/elevatorpitch.asp. (Accessed: 4 October 2023)

Doyle, A. (2022). How to Create an Elevator Pitch with Examples. Harvard University. https://careerservices.fas.harvard.edu/blog/2022/10/11/how-to-create-an-elevator-pitch-with-examples.  (Accessed: 4 October 2023)


The activity can also be re-designed as an ice-breaker, which would involve each participant presenting an elevator pitch on themselves, or on a question related to them (e.g., asking them to present what they can bring to a project in terms of skills and background).

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