A strong business pitch can make all the difference. Although it’s a frightening prospect to most, building presentation skills will help you to show people what makes your idea special and why they should pay attention to you.
That’s exactly why we’ve put together 7 top tips, so that you can captivate and persuade potential partners and clients during your next big pitch!
Tip #1: Know your audience
Know who you are talking to. Remember, preparation is key when it comes to putting together the perfect pitch! Take some time to do a background check on any potential clients.
What are their interests and needs? Do they have certain concerns?
Having a solid understanding of who your audience is will help you to steer the conversation in the right direction so that you can connect with them on an emotional level and deliver a memorable pitch.
Tip #2: Know your numbers & have your answers ready
The best way to figure out what a prospective buyer really wants to know is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What problem or process does my product/service solve?
- What data do I have to back up these claims?
Lastly, don’t assume anything. Listen closely for the types of questions being asked and make sure you are asking enough of your own so that you’re always on the same page regarding expectations.
Tip #3: Keep it simple, stupid!
It’s best to keep things clear and concise when you’re presenting. Use words that are easy to understand, speak in a tone that comes naturally to you, and never forget the power of authenticity!
It may seem counterintuitive but adding more information means adding more complexity and confusing your listeners. It’s often better for everyone involved if we can boil down your message into something simple yet powerful.
Tip #4 Practice is key
It may be a cliché, but it’s true: Practice really does make perfect! Practicing your pitch will help you to eliminate nervous energy, and speak more confidently and fluently in front of your audience. If possible, practice in front of a mirror to observe your body language. Perhaps you need to smile more or work on your body language.
If you have the opportunity, practice in front of a friend or family member who will give honest feedback about what works and what doesn’t. Alternatively, you could try recording yourself with your phone so that you can see how things look from another perspective—it may be surprising at first but it’s helpful for improving your future speeches!
If you find yourself constantly using crutch words like “um” and “you know”, try to embrace using pauses between messages. Studies show that we verbalise hesitations because we’re conditioned to fill the void when we don’t know what to say next. Instead of holding on to the conversational floor, embrace the silence. This allows you to think before speaking and creates a more natural dialogue.
Lastly, it’s important to beware of hand gestures. You want to move around but not too much. Avoid nervous pacing and make sure that your hand gestures are not distracting.
Tip #5: Use visual aids where appropriate
It’s always a good idea to use visual aids to help explain your message. This is especially helpful when illustrating ideas that are too complex or abstract for words alone, such as when explaining a process or procedure (e.g. how a machine/platform works). What’s more, visuals can also help to retain your audience’s attention so that they don’t drift off into daydreams about lunch or other matters.
Tip #6: Just breathe!
Nervous about your big pitch? That’s fine- stage fright is completely normal! Next time you feel the anxiety creep up, take a few minutes before delivering your speech to close your eyes and practice some breathwork. This will help to supply your body with the oxygen it needs to calm and compose itself, and avoid going into full panic-mode.
Tip #7: Keep the queue cards to a minimum
If you’re nervous about delivering your pitch, you may be tempted to write your entire speech so that you can fall back onto your notes if you forget what to say. The problem with this is that it can very easily act as a safety crutch that causes you to read your entire speech while pitching. This comes across as inauthentic and you’ll have a tough time connecting with the audience. Instead, allow yourself the flexibility to speak from the heart by using one or two-word prompts.
With these tips in mind, you’ll soon find that good public speaking skills are key to pitching your business. Remember, people are investing their time listening to what you have to say. It’s only fair for you to put in the time and preparation so that you can deliver the perfect pitch.
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