The ability to win pitches is an essential skill for juniors
Getting someone to buy into your ideas is vital in business. Of course, it’s also something that many people find challenging to do. Creating an effective pitch and having expert presentation skills are huge advantages.
However, there are some common mistakes that many people make when it comes to getting this right. If you want to avoid errors and win the pitch, then these are the essential skills that you need to develop.
- Practice (but don’t memorise) – The more you can practice your presentation, the more comfortable you’ll be with it when the day comes to do it. It will give you the confidence that you know what you’re doing and the chance to refine the content, removing anything extraneous or repeated. However, avoid learning the presentation by heart and repeating it when you get up to do it – it’s much more important to come across as natural than to avoid all mistakes.
- Who is your audience? – This will influence how you structure the presentation and the content you offer for people to take away from the pitch. Remember that most people will decide in the first few minutes of listening to you, so this is the most important part.
- Use your storytelling skills – Winning a pitch is as much an emotional battle as anything else – most of us make decisions based on our emotional reactions whether we realise it or not so it’s vital to factor this in. Create a story around your core message that engages and entertains. Use it to illustrate important details for the audience and make them memorable, whether that’s how you came up with your idea or what the market opportunities are.
- Make it visual – Complement your storytelling skills with visuals that emphasise and enhance where you want people to focus. The slides should be there, not to prompt you, but to support what you’re saying, so don’t fill them with bullet points and too many words.
- Keep it simple – No matter how complex the subject matter, being able to keep the explanation of it simply is a real skill – and one that your audience will value highly. If you’re talking about something complicated or intense, then present it in manageable chunks so that it can be easily processed. If someone doesn’t understand what you’re talking about, then the pitch is unlikely to be a success.
- The numbers are key – In fact, whether or not you’re able to win the pitch can stand or fall on how good you are with the numbers. This is the one part of the pitch you must not compromise on.
- Create a strong ending – A powerful sign-off or a concise statement of your pitch – or something equally impactful – is vital so that you leave your audience with an understanding of exactly why you’re here and what they need to do next.
Winning a pitch isn’t rocket science – these steps will take you to that positive place.
Clearwater Advisers are a leading firm of strategic communicators, teaching leaders and executives how to win the hearts and minds of teams and clients. Learn more about how we help leaders, executives, and teams win negotiations and develop their pitching skills through our workshops.