These thoughts were developed from the Best Practice guide and are now on www.gorkanapr.com
It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it.
Pitching calls for performance. You’re putting on a show that is scripted to highlight key points, lifting and reinforcing your proposition. People are the heroes not the charts!
The document you submit should contain the detailed answer to the brief and satisfy the rational evaluation. Pitching is about the emotional response.
Be aware of the relative effect of purely verbal (content) versus non-verbal communication. Only 8% is verbal, 92% is tone and body language.
“Tell’em what you’re going to tell’em. Tell’em. Tell’em what you’ve told’em!”
Listening to a presentation is hard work so you owe it to your audience to make it easy.
This means being highly selective in what you say, not just condensing the document. What must they remember? What are the differentiating elements of your proposal?
To decide, read and re-read the brief. Then review against your insight into the decision takers. Who influences them? How will they judge? What are their issues?
Structuring your content.
Think of the pitch as a play or opera. Start with a surprise opening or overture (“you never get a second chance to make a first impression”) before setting up your theme.
‘Signpost’ the way you will develop this theme under three main sections, or ‘acts’. Then develop each act with three/four supporting strands (scenes) clearly signposted.
Summarise each act before moving to the next, arriving at a your conclusion or proposed action. Finish on emotional, from the heart, no charts, call for the business.
The people on stage are the heroes. Good rehearsal time is your best investment and is never wasted. In first rehearsal check content for clarity. Are signposts working? Are visuals aids not crutches? Are you a team not a sequence?
In the second rehearsal, work on tone and body language. Who sits where? Look for movement, energy and interaction within the team and with the prospect.
In the final rehearsal, aim for more naturalness and ease. Foster a genuine sense of team. You are no longer’ talking at’ but listening and engaging one on one . With confidence!!
Pitch an experience.
At its best staging a pitch is theatre. It calls for an idea that creates an experience, not a predictable presentation sequence. It calls for story-telling not death by PowerPoint.
It calls for a decision early in the process to do something special, leaving time to be imaginative, time to prepare and time to rehearse.
It calls for an emotional connection.
The Best Practice Guide titled Content and Staging covers this subject in more detail together with what I find to be a useful diagram for ‘visualising’ the shape and content of the pitch.