Pitching from a distance

Face-to-face meetings are undeniably the best route to develop chemistry, build trust and move people to action. Tackling climate change while managing global teams, nudged us to start working remotely. A few weeks ago, handshakes disappeared and now every meeting is online. Having adopted technology at breakneck speed, while climate change continues to threaten the planet, we have to ask…when this is all over, will virtual pitching be the norm not the exception?

Our experience of virtual pitching, in many cases to global teams, has helped us develop our on-screen pitch protocol and style. A taste of what we’ve learnt is below, with more tips and hints to follow in the next few weeks.

SAME BUT DIFFERENT

Business is in the large part about building trustworthy relationships.

  • Establishing chemistry during a virtual pitch is much more than choosing and using technology. It relies on the right mindset, attitude, empathy and establishing a dialogue in advance.

  • If we see virtual pitches as less than being physically present, can we expect chemistry?

CLOSER THAN WE THINK

This crisis is keeping us apart but in other ways has brought us closer together.

  • The last few weeks have given us rare and privileged insight into people’s homes, cultures and behaviour. This level of intimacy takes interactions to a new level.

  • Small talk always had its place in establishing familiarity and trust, though shorter and more direct virtual pitches call for more authentic and meaningful exchanges.

WANDERING MINDS

Minds wander in physical meetings. It’s even tougher to keep people’s attention when they are staring at a screen.

  • The deck we share is under heavier scrutiny. Eyes are fixed on every pixel, so make use of visual imagery to keep the audience’s attention on the presenter’s words.

  • When physically pitching, the theatre director comes out in all of us; props, music and lights. The virtual pitch experience needs similar attention.

  • Delivery is better when we’re stood up. It might be a virtual space, but it’s still a stage.

  • Humanising meetings increases engagement. While everyone works from home, clicking on a link brings new voices and energy to the pitch.

  • Digital body language matters. Substitute the visual cues we rely on when face to face, by labelling emotions, listening and pausing, to maintain interest and anticipation.

Virtual pitches are an opportunity to show prospects how you work under pressure and provide reassurance about your ability to adapt when difficulties arise.

We find ourselves with headspace to think about this, and people we work with have been asking questions. If you’ve got any insight to share, or fancy a chat please let get in touch.

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