Pitching New Business During COVID-19

As COVID-19 has everyone working from home, the format for all our meetings, presentations and collaboration sessions has changed. When our work involves only coworkers, this isn’t such a high-stakes adjustment. But when it comes to presenting for clients or making new business pitches, presentations must remain effective, as if nothing has changed.

During a recent pitch for a shopping center redevelopment, our designers learned firsthand what it means to pitch during the Coronavirus pandemic. In this particular presentation, our design team and consultants presented from their respective homes, while the audience tuned in from across the country, many calling in, so our only connection was through voice. One team member controlled the progression of the slideshow and the rest of the presenters had to adjust their voices, presenting style and content to paint a vivid picture of our qualifications without the advantage of any interactive elements or body language. We learned a lot of lessons from that pitch that are useful for everyone else while the world works remotely.

  1. While normally you can read the room in which you are presenting and adjust your pitch accordingly, you will not have that edge right now. This also means the audience cannot read you, which may be even more detrimental. To compensate, expressive, descriptive language and emotive tone of voice are crucial. Take a page out of radio announcers’ book – paint a picture vivid enough to captivate your listeners and keep them coming back.
  2. But, painting the picture isn’t just about your project. Describe your team – give the audience an image to associate with the voices and be sure to introduce yourself each time you speak. It may even be helpful to put each speaker’s headshot on the slide they’ll be speaking to.
  3. Just like standard presentations, come in overprepared. Test your entire presentation beforehand to make sure all of your ideas can be communicated virtually. If you can’t successfully describe your idea in the presentation preparation, it will not successful with your audience. Presentation delivery needs to be clear and concise. Again, think of radio storytelling. This may require extra rehearsal, but that extra time investment will be worth it for a successful pitch.
  4. Just as you should overprepare your ideas, do the same with your technology. Test your device, software, microphone, screensharing, etc. multiple times before the real deal. Be sure to mimic the same conditions in which you’ll be presenting. You do not need a technical glitch fouling up a smooth delivery.
  5. Remember to keep calm. Some audience members may have technical issues or forget to turn their microphones off. There will likely be some sort of hiccup during the presentation and you don’t want to get flustered or let it ruin the flow of your pitch. Take a breath and keep going.

These are challenging times in almost every respect, but we don’t need to let Covid ruin winning pitches too. Using these tips will help you keep your new business coming in, no matter from where you’re working. 

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