The Art of the Virtual Pitch
You spent the last months fine-tuning and practicing your pitch, seeking out opportunities to reach your target audience, and then… coronavirus hit. Your meetings and events have been moved online, and now you will be delivering your message not to a full room, or in an investor’s office, but through your computer.
How can you capture the attention of your audience and deliver a strong message to alight their interest? Read below for some tips and tricks!
Reviewing the basics of a pitch
Don’t forget the fundamentals of a good pitch - virtual or not. Your pitch should attract the attention of your audience, raise their interest in what you are talking about, increase their desire to work with you, and inspire them to take action to bring your ideas to life!
Set up for success
Take the time to set up your work station to be free of distractions both for you and your audience, and to feel comfortable ahead of your pitch. Test your video image if you will be using video, adjust your lighting, and fix the angle of the camera. Try to put the light source behind your camera if possible to make sure your face is well lit. If you have a separate space you can use, remember to close the door and move any distracting objects out of the picture so that you can be the focus. Make sure your microphone works and that you know where to find the settings ahead of your call. Preparation is key to appearing calm and collected as you go into your pitch.
Build rapport with your audience
Sitting in front of your computer, it can feel hard to build rapport with your audience, especially if you can’t see them. There are still some tricks you can use to build a relationship. Be dynamic – vary the tone, energy and speed of your speech, and use pauses to allow important points to sink in. If you are using video, use hand gestures and facial expressions to bring character to your pitch and help the audience get to know you. Make sure to look at your camera instead of your screen, to look your audience in the (virtual) eye. If your headset allows it, you might want to stand while you present to keep focused.
Don’t be afraid of silences during your call. In person, we use physical cues to fill silences, but these can feel longer on a call, making you wonder if anyone is there. Prepare to wait through those silences, giving people a time to process your points, collect their thoughts, find the unmute button, and comment or provide feedback.
Repeat your key points
We have all been in calls where a participant drops out due to internet issues, the sound breaks up or someone is briefly distracted. Repeat your key points at multiple points during your pitch to make sure that everyone is able to catch them, and to refocus their attention. As with in-person pitching, you want to make sure your audience leaves with a couple of key messages in mind.
Practice, practice, practice!
Practice with your family, in a mirror or by filming yourself. Jot down a couple of points you want to remember to say, and practice incorporating those into your pitch.