Essentials of the Research Pitch

14th July 2016


Research leaders must be able to communicate the value of their research to those who have no knowledge of their discipline, in less than 3 minutes.

The audience must be left wanting more.  The response you are seeking is: “Tell me more” or “How can we get involved in this work?”

This research pitch must be memorable, interesting and accessible.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Start with the word ‘Imagine, (pause), then describe a world benefiting from your research.
  2. Now add a surprising, interesting fact that many outside of your discipline do not know. This type of information is more likely to be remembered, it piques interest and is likely to be re-told.
  3. Then use the ‘rule-of-three’. Give three essential elements or benefits rising from your research. There may be more, but be disciplined, stop at three.  A list of 4 or more is difficult to remember and will drown your previous points.  The ‘rule-of-three’ is a fundamental of story-telling embedded in religious stories, proverbs and nursery rhymes. Align these three points to the specifics interest of your audience.
  4. Finish with a reference to your ‘imagine’ narrative. Refer back to your opening positive story and you will have a strong finish and leave people smiling.  

And also remember, ditch the jargon, replace theoretical concepts with concrete images and don’t include your title or the name of your research centre. The value of your research is what you are communicating, don’t muddy the waters with notions unfamiliar to those outside of research and higher education. Remember, people connect to people not data, jargon or titles.