An important tool for any champion or evangelist is having a good elevator pitch: a succinct, persuasive pitch aimed at piquing their interest and enticing them to want to learn more. The elevator pitch gets its name from the idea that you may only have the length of an elevator ride to capture someone’s attention.
For an OER champion, a compelling elevator pitch might offer your best opportunity to convince someone to try OER. And there’s one thing constant with any elevator pitch: the more you practice, the better it gets.
What makes a good elevator pitch?
A strong elevator pitch will:
- Identify the problem you’re solving
- Explain your solution and why it works
- Make it personal and passionate by sharing facts, actual benefits, and concrete examples of how your solution impacts real people
- Invite your audience to take a specific action
Craft Your Pitch
To get started, write out some talking points, or even a complete script explaining how OER can help solve important problems for students and faculty on your campus. Tie in themes that are important to the people you’ll talk to.
For example, is textbook affordability an important issue for students or campus leaders? If so, estimate the cost savings your OER initiative has achieved so far and mention it in your pitch. Is student success or retention a particular focus? If so, be sure to explain how OER can impact these important outcomes. Is academic freedom an important issue for faculty? If so, talk about how OER offers faculty increased control and academic ownership over their course materials.
Use this Elevator Pitch Worksheet tool, developed by Houston Community College’s OER initiative team for an AACC presentation, to help you think through what’s happening with your OER initiative and how you might craft an effective elevator pitch.
Once you’ve drafted a pitch, it’s time to practice, practice, practice. Share it, see what resonates, and make adjustments.
Tailor Your Pitch to the Audience
When developing your elevator pitch, focus your key points and benefits on the audience. You might have a standard elevator pitch you use for faculty members, and variations of it you use when you’re talking to administrators, librarians, or instructional designers.
Similarly the “ask” at the end of your pitch should be tailored to the audience. You might ask faculty to review an OER course or textbook, and share their feedback with you. You might invite administrators to attend an OER Summit or another meeting where a faculty+student panel is presenting about their experiences using OER. Think about the role each person might play in building your OER initiative, and then invite them to take some action that could move them towards becoming your ally.