It’s no surprise that since the pandemic began in 2020, it has driven almost everything to online. We may never return fully to the world we once knew before COVID-19. Especially as a typical day in the life of an American now relies heavily on smart phones and laptops.
What passes for normal life is now happening almost entirely online, including working, schooling, buying groceries on Amazon, and binge watching shows on Netflix.
Prior to the pandemic, in-person pitches dominated the marketing world. Imagine a theater of pitches where over the top presentations and in-person meetings went to great lengths in order to win over producers and managers.
As the world shifted to the virtual realm, firm handshakes have gone out the door and now pitches, along with casual small talk, are all being done online. How do you pitch a presentation on Zoom successfully? How do you woo a producer through a video call?
These are all valid concerns for PR professionals who are trying to figure out ways to pitch their clients’ stories and products with flair on a small computer or phone screen. Luckily, there are some pretty clever ways to win in this video-friendly new world.
Here are some tips to help you get a leg up among competitors as you plan, practice, and present your virtual pitches:
1. Map out a plan for your virtual presentation. In this new video world, digital tools allow you to share your screens with others so your presentation can easily be seen on the screens of those you are presenting to. As you map out this pitch, figure out which parts will require a screen share. Once the presentation is outlined, practice screen sharing ahead of time in order to prevent any technical difficulties. You will also want to come up with alternative ideas if you have a product that ordinarily would be passed around in person. Instead, try the product yourself and perform a demonstration of yourself using it to all who are in the video chat.
2. Plan an eye-catching introduction. Make an introduction that stands out and catch the attention of your viewers the moment you’re first seen. They will not invest any time to hear what you have to say if they aren’t intrigued the first minute. Tell them quickly why your pitch is worth watching and what makes it unique and stand out.
3. Timing is everything, so use your time wisely. You may not have a lot of time to pitch your presentation and answer questions, so it is important to be both quick and thorough. In person, there may be plenty of opportunity to leave a good impression, but with a video call, you may be limited to an exact time slot that a producer or manager has available. It may tempting to bring on a full theater performance, but focus on cutting to the chase and giving all the information as quickly but as powerfully as possible. Keep in mind that when finished, it is important to address concerns and answer questions.
4. Record yourself before making your actual pitch and troubleshoot. Like they say, practice makes perfect. By recording and reviewing yourself, see what may need improving. Try hosting a video call with some other people to run your presentation by in order to receive honest feedback. This may also help troubleshoot many things and find technical issues to watch out for when it is time to make your actual presentation. Test all of your visuals, videos, and sound before the call. Your audience will view your presentation over a video call software, and while it looks stunning in person, it may show up poorly on the call. Especially for those who have slower internet speeds. Cut anything from your pitch that will look or sound poorly over a video call.
5. Prepare your surroundings for the virtual meeting. Create a space that offers a professional-looking background when pitching your presentation. It is important to have limited noise and a solid internet connection so the audio and video doesn’t break up or sound choppy. Also, your surroundings should be noise free. It would look terrible if the neighbor started to mow his lawn while you’re presenting or to have your dog come in and jump on your lap.
6. Greet your viewers before jumping into the pitch. Make it a point to bond and connect quickly with the person or people that you’re pitching. Also, thank them for listening before and after your presentation.
7. Always look at the camera and make eye contact. Unless you need to look at a product you are trying to pitch, make sure that at all other times to place your eyes on the camera and are making eye engaging contact with your viewers. A lot of communication is non verbal, which means even facial expressions and body language count for a lot. Making eye contact is a great way to grab and hold attention from the captive audience.
These are just some ideas to help successfully navigate the new “video call” world we live in. It may be more challenging than being in person, but with enough practice, it may start feeling more natural. You will also want to follow up your presentations with phone calls and e-mails to thank your attendees for their time.
Marketers are trying to figure out innovative ways to get in front of consumers if it can’t be in person and videoconferencing is the solution. Step out of your comfort zone and nail those pitches.