It seemed strange to find the term "elevator pitch" used by the New York Times in an article "Billionaires with big ideas are privatizing American science," but there it was. Beyond that, the Times had found the distinguished science magazine Nature had also used it in an article on how to "sell science".
In any case, the Times defined "elevator pitch" as ". . . a digest of research so compelling that it would seize a potential donor's attention in the time between floors." And, "Practice in front of the mirror and 'with anyone who will listen. [and] "when the pitch is smooth enough, 'aim high.'"
Couldn't have been said better. In another posting on this blog a while back I added that it should flow smoothly and run not more than 30 seconds.
By the way, sometimes it's termed "elevator pitch", other times "elevator speech" or "opening Business Statement"–the term I use in my book SALES TRAINING TUTORIALS (second edition) especially in . . .
Tutorial 1, especially section 5: How will I introduce myself and my product or service? What's my "Opening Business Statement or "Elevator Speech"?
Tutorial 6: How to get past the "gate-keeper" or "screen";
and Tutorial 7: How to ask the prospect for an appointment
Sales Training Tutorials is available in both E-book and paper-book formats.
You'll also find more related how-to in my SELLING 101 Third edition available in both paper and E-book versions. See especially . . .
Section 4: Getting past the Decision Maker's Screen;
Section 6: Convincing the Decision Maker to meet with you;
Section 8: Opening the face-to-face meeting with the Decision Maker