We know first hand that pitching and presenting can be a challenge, whether in a meeting, a new workplace or even in the face of a huge opportunity for your company/brand.
It can feel, sometimes, like nerves can stand between us and truly connect with who we are pitching too, or we might second guess whether we are truly standing out from the crowd.
In this weeks check this out, we want to give you concise tips that can help you hone your pitching and presenting skills no matter the environment, firstly going through how to begin your pitch, then moving onto keeping a pitch simple and then we will finally take a look at online pitching in this new digital work environment we call home.
So here are our 3 essential pitching tips:
Number One: How to Start Your Pitch
Story is proven as the heart of nearly all of human life, we are all living our own stories and this might be why, according to Rebecca Krause and Derek Rucker, two leading psychological scientists, they are the most persuasive method of conveying information.
You might ask, why is this important to pitching, and starting a pitch? Well, the powerful effects of persuasion are vital in pitching, and hooking your spectators straight away is essential, and beginning your pitch with an engaging narrative is far more effective than a basic introduction of your name and purpose.
Dominic Colenso, a communications expert at InFlow training believes that a pitcher has about 7 seconds to entice a spectator and help make their mind up whether they’re interested or not. This first impression, while not the be-all and end-all, can help you start with a bang and build your confidence as a springboard for the rest of your presentation.
Here is s practical example of how to open your presentation, as well as some phrases that you might want to avoid:
Instead of beginning a speech with “Hi, my name is ---- and today I’m here to talk to you about -----”
Try introducing yourself with an important fact, told with a story, to base your pitch around: “Despite the difficulties my company faced when -------, we made an invaluable impact to our industry by ---(list an achievement of your company or product)---
Number Two: Complexity through simplicity
One thing so often discussed when talking about presenting is doing so with simplicity, and this is totally correct. However, sometimes the ideas, facts, or premise of your company isn’t so simple, and telling them in a simple way can be a challenge, to say the least.
In a pitch, it can rarely feel like there is enough time to tell the audience everything they need to know about your company or opportunity, so instead, use the three-step outline that so many online articles use today.
- Grab them with a headline (refer to step one): E.g: “My company sold the most tennis balls in the world last year
- Consistently impress with clear subheadings: E.g: “our tennis balls use the highest quality rubber”
- Be selective with information and facts under subheadings, don’t use too much. E.g: “we sold 900,000 tennis balls a month last year”
Over the small time you have, it’s important to keep your audience engaged with the presentation, a tool so often wrongly overused. As Katy French outlines with this beautifully simple diagram, don’t use more than 6 lines of text in a slide.
If the information in the slide needs more than 6 lines, then think about how you can split it up into smaller sections, or prioritize the more valuable chunks, that would seem more appropriate in the internet style guidelines before. Giving huge chunks of text to a spectator puts the onus on them to do the work, instead, simplify their experience and do the work for the by dictating that vital information to them, with the slide behind as more of a backbone. This will help to further simplify and streamline your pitch without it losing any of its potency
Number Three: Pitching from home
With many of us still working from home, and another large number of us freelance workers based at home, pitching yourself, your idea, or your company over the internet is a very realistic premise.
If pitching an idea over zoom or another online call service is the opportunity, then one key factor is to limit the ways things can go wrong. The internet is a mish-mash of different services, browsers, formats, etc. so be sure to make sure your resources for an online pitch are the most accessible, instead of sending out a link that only people with Google Docs can read, instead, convert your document to a PDF file, so that anyone can read your information upon downloading it.
If your online pitch is a cold email-
-well, that’s a whole different basket. Although we could definitely do a whole check this out on the art of the cold email. Here’s a couple of coping tips to help you reach out and quickly pitch yourself online.
- Don’t expect success. Just like all of us, emails can pile and pile and pile up, and although most people will see you and the value you can provide for them as an asset, not everyone will, and so being philosophical about the potential for failure is important.
- Tailor your cold emails. The chances of success for your shot in the dark email are greatly reduced if the person receiving it thinks they’re just being sent a copy and pasted email with their name filled in. It’s fine to have a basic premise, but just as with the idea of pitching with a story, engage your recipient on a personal level by showing them you’re genuine interest in their company or support.
- On the same lines as the last tip, as well as tailoring the email to the receiver, make sure the receiver is the right person for you too. While everyone wants their company or personal brand to receive as much exposure and be networked as much as possible, there’s no point offering the aforementioned tennis balls to a football team. Still, be intelligent with your recipients, think outside the box, so, for example, the tennis ball provider might cold email a school and leisure center as well as the obvious choice of a tennis court/player to maximize the potential sales
And there you have it, we hope you liked this week’s jam-packed Check This Out, and that you can find some of the actionable advice here useful.
As a final point, I think it's important to add that when pitching, the most vital way to succeed, is to see that pitch not as a scary and daunting event, but as an opportunity, no matter how many times you might have been rejected, a pitch or presentation is a chance for a great thing to happen to your company - and you’re in charge of making it happen.
We hope you've enjoyed this article, we'll keep checking everything out and bring another one to you soon
DW Staff Writer
Read our previous 'Check This Out' article on Creative Writing for Business here