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PITCH PERFECT

In a presentation, you normally have a time frame of 30 minutes to take the potential client through the essence of your company. This information should include your team, who you work with, what you can offer and why the client should employ your services. Ideally you should be able to communicate this in 20 minutes or less. Having good ideas and credentials alone doesn’t always cut it. The way your pitch flows and how you unveil information can be the winning attributes. Standing out is about sharing information that allows people to relate to something meaningful to them – you need to make sure you tell your story in the most compelling way possible.

With this in mind, here are six pointers to help your focus in a pitch:

Start off strong: Make the opening count and start off with energy. If you lose your prospective client in the first few minutes, the chances are you will never get them back. Make your introduction memorable and relevant. Relate to the audience you are talking to and paint a picture as to where you’re heading. Maintain their interest by not revealing everything at once.

Showcase: Talk about your current successes and how you achieved these. Don’t be afraid to share with your audience the challenges or difficulties you faced along the way, but make sure you inform them how you turned these obstacles into opportunities and ultimately the results that you achieved.

Stay focused: The best pitches are those that are centralised on a single idea or theme. It could be about what the client wants to achieve or about the client’s product, brand or positioning.

Leverage sentiments: Identify the emotional arc of the client – it’s not only important to connect with their heads, but also with their hearts. Watch and listen. Body language can go a long way. Effectively responding to the client’s unspoken thoughts can add to their confidence in you. Make sure you do some homework about the client before meeting them – you can build on what you gathered throughout your meeting.

Call to action:  After you have been specific about your recommendation, wrap up with something that gets your listener to actively engage. Your goal is to affect their behaviour, to pique their interest and to ask for more. Make sure that your closing lines encapsulate the aim of the presentation and the journey you have taken your audience through.

Remember that pitches need practice: …and practice makes perfect. Rehearse your pitch as often as you can, trying out different scenarios that include an effective recovery should things go awry, such as appropriate use of humour. Constant practice will increase your confidence and help you perfect your pitch.