Bluewood Top Tips for pitching

Getting your pitch right takes a little time and effort but do it correctly and you will stand out and win business. We’ve put together these top tips to help you and your team perfect and polish the way you prepare, build and deliver successful pitches.

Research; make sure you find out as much as you can about the client; their industry and specific requirements. This knowledge will enable you to adapt your approach and will make you stand out from the start.
Tailoring; do you need to present an off-the-shelf product or do you need to show that you can mould your offering to the client’s need?
Benefits; make sure you can explain the positive difference your product can make to the client – don’t just list its features.
Proof; back-up what you say about yourself/your product with; evidence, statistics, illustration and client testimonials – without this proof, the client may wonder if you can really deliver.
Key message; have a very clear idea of your main idea or the call to action and don’t be afraid to repeat it.

Body language; this covers various areas and each needs to be considered in terms of the non-verbal communication it gives the audience:
o Hand gestures
o Eye contact
o Posture
o Smiling
o Presenting sitting down versus standing
Voice; again there are a few areas to work on:
o Volume
o Speed
o Emphasis
o Pauses
o Tone/pitch
Practice; this is the only way that the content will sink in and the more you practice, the more confidence you will have. Ideally do this on camera or in front of colleagues so you can get feedback.

Visual Aids:
Slides; don’t overload slides with too much information – some of the best presenters cut out text and only use pictures.
Speakers notes; don’t feel you need to memorise the entire pitch as it’s acceptable to use a few note cards to make sure you are on track – keep them to a few bullets each and don’t use it as a script to read from.
Leave-behinds; it can be useful to provide additional information in an appendix or hand-out for the end – don’t feel you have to put everything in the main presentation.

Managing; some people are happy to take questions during the presentation, others prefer to leave them till the end – decide which you will do and explain this to the client at the start.
Negatives; don’t just hope that difficult question won’t come up – list all the tricky things you could be asked and make sure you can handle them if they arise.
Handovers; if you are presenting as a team, make sure you decide who will answer which subjects in advance – this will help to show you are a team that can work effectively together.

Written by Will Edwards – – July 2015

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