Authentic Assessment


30 Second Elevator Pitch

A 30 sec Elevator speech is typically a brief proposal given within 30 seconds or the length of time you might find yourself standing in an elevator with your boss or future client. This 30 sec speech needs to be extremely concise and organized in order to convey your idea. Also this speech is performative. You will be delivering it in class.  You will also submit a written script of the speech.

You have been researching a potential game or audience for your firm. You decide to propose that game or audience to that client to bring in more business. You happen to get into the elevator with your boss and have exactly 30 sec to tell her about your ideas.


Who is your client? What problem do they face? How might your department intervene?

For an idea of how this speech looks, watch the videos on this site.


What information needs to be provided to your audience? How might this information be best organized to convince your audience about the merits of your ideas?


What language and tone choices do you need to consider? What sort of relationship do you have with your boss?


How much background does your boss already have on the client? on the problem? on your suggestions?


How does this speech need to be written and delivered to make the information accessible to your audience?

Learning Theory in Action

While short, brief and specific, this 30 second elevator pitch is an example of project-based learning. The very brevity of the task asks learners to think through and plan what they are going to say in much more concrete, clear, and persuasive terms than they normally consider. This pitch also does more than introduce the speaker to the listener. Rather, the speaker must proposal or compel the listener to some action, such as following up on an idea or having a meeting. While learners often have vast experience in writing and speaking, they have not had to shape their  ideas so precisely. In addition, the 30 second elevator pitch is also about timing, presentation, poise, non-verbals, and effective use of space. 

I usually teach this lesson using a social constructivist model. Learners work together to practice and frame their speeches, before they present them to the group at large for feedback. 

Authentic Assessment

To assess the completion and accuracy of the 30 second elevator pitch, I have developed the following two rubrics. The first rubric breaks down how letter grades are given in a business communication course I have taught (ie. how would your boss react to what you have written/produced). 


The second rubric is specific to the 30 second elevator pitch and causes the instructor to observe specific professional cues, performances, and language. 

Both rubrics are designed to help learners identify professional behaviors and expectations found in a typical workplace environment. 

Rubric 1

Rubric 2