In any agency, pitches are part of the job description. But how do you pull off the perfect pitch? If you don’t feel confident about it, nobody else will. This is where you can take a few serious leaves out of an actor’s book by looking at these five lessons.
1. The Rehearsal
Just like actors, in order to get your pitch perfect, preparation is crucial. Memorise your key points, just like a script and make sure you know the details back to front. Grab some colleagues to watch you and hear their feedback, or try filming yourself to see what is and isn’t working. This will also help you to brainstorm for questions the client might throw at you, so you can be totally prepared.
2. The Audition
Once you’ve rehearsed and made sure your team are feeling confident, it’s time for the pitch. Be sure to present yourself well, as your first impression is vital. Smile, shake hands, and remember to ask how they are – it’s surprising how many of us are so busy worrying, we forget basic pleasantries. Let your personality come through a little before you begin, it’ll relax both you and your client.
Actors study the art of improvisation in order to prepare them for anything when they’re under the spotlight and you should definitely do the same. Nobody can predict how a pitch will go. A client may ask a completely unexpected question, a colleague may get stage fright, or your laptop may not want to play ball. So go above and beyond your script; learn and analyse data and statistics, make sure you know as much as possible, so you can keep responsive and relaxed when the unexpected happens.
In a play, there is an allotted amount of time for your message to be communicated. The same happens in a pitch – it is crucial that you make an impact on your audience with the time you have. Too long, and you’ve lost their attention, too short and they leave feeling uninformed and confused. Professional actors know how to make the biggest impact with the time they’ve got, right up until the end.
5. Be Resilient
It’s often said that an actor’s job is to audition. 9/10 times they won’t get the part, despite their best efforts. Likewise, sometimes a pitch will go perfectly, but other factors may mean it doesn’t work out. Whatever you do, don’t take it personally and don’t let it get you down. Regroup with your team, discuss it, and then take some advice from our good friend Taylor Swift and ‘shake it off’. If you’re happy with how it went and nothing could have been improved upon, then focus on the next opportunity.
One Last Reminder!
The show isn’t over until the curtain closes. Once the main pitch is over and the difficult questions are out of the way, do not take this as a reason to suddenly switch off. We say a first impression is crucial, but a final impression has been proven to be even more influential – so stay polite, stay engaged, stay friendly and stay professional.
Tessa Morton is a specialist coach and consultant who trains communication professionals on presentation technique and she sums it up perfectly, “I insist that all presenters I coach work hard to be: received, reacted to and remembered. Like an actor, unless you actively engage the audience there is no value in the live medium.” Try implementing this way of thinking and see how your next pitch goes – lights, camera, pitch!