From the get-go, one thing you need to remember about structuring a pitch is that it should be short. How short depends on the situation, but usually pitches fall anywhere between 30 seconds (this is what is known as an elevator pitch - a message you can deliver in the span of an elevator ride) to several minutes. Longer pitches are usually presented alongside a visual medium, like a slide deck, but shorter pitches don’t require any additional resources. In this virtual work experience, your pitch should be between 1 and 2 minutes, so you have some flexibility to play around with the amount of detail you would like to put in.
Because a pitch is so condensed, it’s important to make sure you are using the time you have wisely to maximise the impact of your message. To achieve that, your pitch needs to have a clear structure, which will allow you not only to plan what points you would like to make (and which points may be unnecessary), but also to arrange them into a cohesive narrative, building a story around your core message. The rules of effective communication we covered last week (that is, being clear, concise, compelling, and consistent) also apply to drafting your pitch, so you need to remember them when you start adding specific details to your initial structure.
Here are some suggestions on what to include in your pitch. Feel free to use this structure when drafting your pitch, but don’t feel tied to it. It’s completely fine if you want to change things around, or to add another point, as long as you keep your pitch brief and your changes you make help you explain your campaign with greater impact and precision.
If we put it all together, the complete pitch will look like that:
Hi, my name is _____, I’m a Year 12 student at _____ school, and I have always been passionate about sustainability. Did you know that the way we keep consuming goods has a tremendous negative impact on our environment? I can definitely attest to that, as there have been countless times when I bought a piece of clothing on a whim, never to pull it out of my closet again, just to chuck it out in the end. As you can imagine, with over 25 million people in Australia, if each of us discards just one item of clothing per year, it still adds up to tonnes and tonnes of waste. My campaign, Thread for Thought, is designed to break this vicious cycle of consuming, discarding, and consuming more by raising awareness about sustainable fashion practices, like repurposing unwanted clothing items into household goods. Throughout the two weeks of the campaign, participants will benefit from a variety of online workshops showcasing different sewing and mending techniques accessible to everyone, even those who have never held a needle in their hands. I am also planning to organise a company-wide clothes-swap event, where participants could bring their unwanted clothes to see if anyone else might get better use out of them. Any items left over from the swap will be donated to The Smith Family, who are supporting the event, to be sold in their charity shops. Some may say that this is only a small step, but it is small steps like this that bring about big change. Raising awareness about sustainability in fashion among the campaign participants today will lead to more conscious consumer behaviours and a positive ripple effect into a wider community. By greenlighting this campaign, you are contributing to a greener and more sustainable future for all.
This pitch has 300 words and if you read it aloud at a comfortable pace, it should take you about 1 minute 40 seconds to get through. With practice, you would be able to deliver it in just under a minute and a half.
Use this information to estimate how much you should write to fit your pitch in the predetermined time limit of 1-2 minutes. You definitely need to write at least 200 words to give your pitch content enough depth, but don’t go over 350 words, as more than that may be hard to squeeze into 2 minutes, unless you talk very quickly, which is not what we are after, as it can make it difficult for your audience to follow you.