Clayton State University Professor of Management Dr. Louis Jourdan’s research interests include entrepreneurship, motivation, self-efficacy, goal orientation, self-management and self-regulating behavior. Thus, it’s no surprise that he organized Clayton State’s 2014 Elevator Pitch Competition.
“Getting someone’s attention in the business world is really very simple,” he says. “Like almost everything else in modern communications, from Twitter to texting, it’s a matter of being brief and concise.
“Today, because everyone is so busy, bombarded by people and ideas every day, it is important to get people’s attention quickly in order to get another meeting to explain your idea in more detail.”
One way to get attention quickly is what’s known as an “elevator pitch.” That is, a talk that quickly presents key information about a business idea regarding a product or service, a presentation that can be given during the course of an elevator ride. The intent of an elevator pitch is to encourage a potential investor to further pursue an opportunity, says Jourdan.
“An elevator pitch is a tool to help people with a business idea, or to help an existing business to get to the next meeting with investors,” he adds.
In the present fast-moving business climate, the ability to make an effective elevator pitch has become a much-desire skill. Recognizing their importance, elevator pitch competitions have multiplied at universities throughout the region, with Clayton State among them in a spring 2014 competition sponsored by Mitch Johnson with Primerica Financial Services.
“More and more universities are going to this type of competition, either in addition to, or instead of, a business plan competition,” explains Jourdan. “In an elevator pitch, they have to know the same information that is in a business plan, but they have to present it quickly.
“Such a competition helps people to think and respond on their feet. Also, the same techniques are used to sell yourself to an employer; just the content of the pitch changes.”
The bottom line is that elevator pitch competitions are a valuable learning tool.
“It teaches people to communicate their idea or concept effectively and persuasively in an interesting manner,” says Jourdan. “Everyone, at one time or another, has tried to persuade another person about an idea.
“Investors, in particular, spend very little time on the initial review. For example, venture capitalists spend about three minutes reading a business plan, and then invest in only one percent to two percent of those they review.”
Jourdan holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Presbyterian College, a master’s in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech, and a doctoral degree in Organizational Psychology from Georgia State.