First-ever ‘elevator pitch’ competition to test students’ abilities

Today’s business students know the power of the so-called elevator pitch, a business concept delivered to prospective clients in the time it takes for a typical elevator ride.

“Every business person needs to have a 60-second elevator pitch to negotiate an appointment with a company, but elevator pitches are useful for anything,” said Steve Edison, a professor in the Department of Marketing and Advertising at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

But students often graduate rarely having the opportunity to practice, and then deliver, their short pitch in front of a live audience, Edison said.

He and other business faculty are addressing that challenge by holding UALR’s first-ever “elevator pitch competition” in the College of Business atrium on April 23.

The noon event will feature 10 finalists selected from an initial 70 entries submitted last fall during the pilot phase of the program.

Federated Insurance of Little Rock is supporting the competition by providing $2,500, with the top prize of $500 going to the student with the best pitch, as judged by a panel of cross-disciplinary faculty, staff, and professionals.

Students will also be given an opportunity to vote for their favorites.

And, since representatives from actual businesses will be observing the competition, competitors could be vying for more than money.

Although some of the students are business majors, many top contenders also come from other disciplines, Edison said.

Edison and other faculty will observe which students performed some of these elevator pitch skills most successfully:

  • Identification of key goals – what is the objective of the student pitch?
  • Explanation of what the student (or business) actually does. What does the student most want the audience to remember about them?
  • How well does the elevator pitch communicate the student’s unique selling points?
  • How well does the student engage the audience with a solid, open-ended question.
  • How well does the student communicate via body language?

The campus community and public are invited to the free, hour-long event which will include light refreshments.

For more information, go to Elevator Pitch Contest.

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