3. Pitch structure

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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.

  1. An introduction: it’s always a good idea to start your pitch by introducing yourself and giving a very brief description of your background relevant to the pitch you are about to make. Something as simple as “Hi, my name is _____, I’m a Year 12 student at _____ school, and I have always been passionate about sustainability” is more than enough.
  2. A thesis statement or a hook: This serves the purpose of attracting the attention of your audience and identifying the general topic of your pitch (usually, it’s some kind of problem or a challenge that needs resolution). A thesis statement, as the name suggests, is a statement, while a hook can be formulated as a question as well. For example, a thesis statement can look like this: “One of the key steps we can take as a society to reduce our environmental impact is to rethink our consumerist habits”. A hook conveying the same message would sound like this: “Did you know that the way we keep consuming goods has a tremendous negative impact on our environment?”. As it is presented as a question it creates a sense of having a conversation with your audience, which can be more engaging.
  3. An elaboration on the thesis statement/hook with a data point or an example: The purpose of this step is to give you credibility (that is, to show that you can support your statement by facts) and/or to create an emotional connection with your audience through a shared or relatable experience. Here’s an example of an elaboration based on a data point: “In Australia alone we send an average 23 kilos of textiles to landfill per person, each year. With the population of over 25 million people, that adds up to thousands of tonnes of waste.” And here’s an elaboration citing a personal experience: “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.”
  4. A solution: What are you going to do about the problem you have identified in your thesis statement/hook? This is where you would introduce your campaign: “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.”
  5. The specifics: This is the place for you to briefly talk about your campaign scope, timeline, and activities. Remember, you don’t need to mention everything, just focus on a couple of key elements or highlights, for instance: “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.”
  6. A conclusion and call for action: This is where you describe potential benefits of implementing your solution. If you created a program tagline or have prepared a call for action for your audience, this is a good opportunity to use them. This is an example of what your pitch conclusion can look like: “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.”


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.


Take a break here and have a go at drafting your pitch!

How did you go with it?