The Way to the Top

Katy Montgomery

Katy currently serves as the Global Director of the Career Development Centre at INSEAD where she manages career services professionals across three campuses: Abu Dhabi, Fontainebleau, and Singapore. Katy previously served as the Associate Dean for Student Development at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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While preparing for a class on giving the perfect pitch, I read two books: The New Elevator Pitch by Chris Westfall and No Sweat Elevator Speech by Fred E. Miller. Both authors are considered experts in the field: Westfall is a National Elevator Pitch Champion and Miller is an international coach and public speaking expert. Each author has a formula for creating the perfect elevator pitch.

Westfall uses CLARITY to craft a great pitch:

Captivate: gain the attention of your audience

Language of Leadership: present yourself as an expert on your subject

Authenticity: you have to connect with you

Relevance: make what matters to you matter to others

Inspiration: show positive change

Tactfulness: say the right thing at the right time

Yes (Next Steps): find agreement with your audience

Miller takes a different, floor-based approach (as you are moving up the elevator)

Floor 1: Describe who you are

Floor 2: Describe what you do

Floor 3: Describe your expertise or experience

Floor 4: Why Hire Me?

Floor 5: Your Why (why do you do what you do?)

Floor 6: More Why People Hire Me

Floor 7: I Deliver

Floor 8: Ask!

Although the two authors have different methods, both stress practice, confidence, and supplementing your elevator pitch with networking. Follow either approach or a combination of these plans and you will see your elevator going all the way to the top!


The CDO staff actively reads a wide range of professional development material, and we look forward to sharing the bits of wisdom we find with you, our dedicated readers, through The Good Reads blog series.

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