The Lift Test (Elevator Pitch)

A practical, step-by-step approach used by a Norwegian upper secondary school for helping their students to be as innovative and imaginative as possible when selling their business ideas to important potential stakeholders.

Purpose and process

The purpose of 'The Lift Test' is to enable Young Enterprise teams to present their business ideas in as compelling a way as possible - and within 30 seconds only - to a very important stakeholder. There are 10 steps to success:

  1. The team develops a precise and compelling description of their business idea. They need to pick their words carefully in order to engage and involve the listener in less than 30 seconds.
  2. They must ensure their description includes: the customer target group; their needs; what the business can offer them; and, especially important, what will be their company`s competitive advantage, i.e. the reason why the customer should buy their product.
  3. Next, they imagine presenting their business idea to one of the following: a) a mentor for the company; b) an investor; c) a future supplier; d) a future distributor; e) the city mayor; and f) a journalist in the country´s biggest newspaper.
  4. They consider what it would be like to run into this person in a lift! What if they have only 30 seconds to convince this person that he/she should actively support their company?
  5. The team must get together in pairs and take a walk somewhere outside the regular classrom  - maybe in the school´s lift ? They must take turns to present their business idea to their team-mate in as engaging a way as possible - they  will need to convince the other partner that they are 110 % committed to succeed, and that they seriously would like the listener to buy into and support the business idea!
  6. Once the team-mates have practised with each other, and feel ready to test the idea on someone they're meeting for the first time, they then test their business idea on someone outside their team - and listen to their candid feedback.
  7. If necessary, they can adjust the wording and manner of engaging the listener; they should practise again and again until they're 110 % certain that they've got the best presentation possible.
  8. Now they can make their presentation to someone outside their own class, maybe a teacher or someone else who will also be able to provide some further feedback.
  9. They have a last opportunity to make any final adjustments.
  10. Finally, everybody in the team is now able to present the team´s business idea whenever any of them meets that very important person! Good luck !!

Learning outcomes

Students can develop:

  • language awareness and precision in both their native language and in any other relevant language where presentation of a subject is important
  • ability to present - without warning - an important message in an enthusiastic and compelling way
  • a tool for successfully 'selling' their business idea
  • networking and team skills 

Curricular or thematic relevance

In any entrepreneurship curricula where establishing a network is a vital part of the future success.
In any language curricula where training in precision and effectiveness is highly important. 

How to organise:

Can take place as part of a timetabled lesson or within an extra-curricular Young Enterprise programme, possibly using students' own time. Once they have experienced the process, they can apply it in a range of other contexts.

Assessment and evaluation approaches

Evaluation can take place with regard to:

  • Language proficiency
  • Presentation techniques
  • Active listening techniques
  • Communication techniques

Volunteer involvement

Volunteers from business and community organisations could offer valuable support as facilitators during the process of developing wording for presenting the business idea. They could also help the pairs whilst they are practising their presentations.

Provider country


Provider Institution:

, Sortland Upper Secondary School  Norway

helper do TM detail body (June 6th, 1st half)

helper do TM detail right side (TM June 6th, 2nd half)

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