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Your elevator pitch

I was recently on a judging panel for the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition at the University of Bath. Each doctoral student had just three minutes, and one Powerpoint slide, to put across the story of their research. The seven competitors did an amazing job in front of a discerning audience.

What has this got to do with writing your thesis or writing a journal article? Quite a lot. What lies at the heart of your writing? Whether a thesis or an article, you’re trying to convince particular readers about something. What is it? How will your readers be changed by reading your thesis or article?

On some courses I get students to work in pairs, to discuss their answer, and then each writes down their personal response in two or three sentences. This is what lies at the heart of their thesis or paper. This is what they must deliver. By getting clear about this early on, it seeps into their bones and they can make sure they deliver on it.

Elevator pitch? What I’ve just described is not a million miles away from being in an elevator (lift) with a Hollywood producer. Before the producer gets off at their floor you have only 30 seconds to convince them of the brilliance of your idea for their next movie.

So, what is your elevator pitch for your thesis or next article?

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