So, your pitch deck is finished, your meeting is set up, and you are ready to go. But how confident are you feeling in your presentation skills?
Digital advertising pitches can be nerve-wracking; that’s a given. However, there’s no reason to let those nerves ruin all your hard work. Even for seasoned professionals, there’s always more to learn about how to deliver that perfect pitch.
Here are some tips on how to make sure everything about you, from how you speak to the way you move your hands, is a recipe for success!
Why practice makes a perfect advertising pitch
Even if you’ve honed your pitch deck to perfection, you still need to polish up your presentation skills. Did you know that, according to a study from SOAP Presentations, the effectiveness of presentations is only 7% determined by content?
38% is down to your voice, and 55% relies on non-verbal communication. That includes everything from your eye contact and facial expressions to your posture and body language.
Practising is one of the best ways to make sure how you present your pitch is just as impressive as the content you’ve prepared.
How to manage nerves when pitching
Practising before your pitch is also a good way of easing nerves. You know what you’re talking about, but anyone can stumble when faced with a room full of strangers. According to SOAP, 90% of pre-presentation anxiety comes from a lack of preparation, so don’t let that be what lets you down. Plus, if you feel like your content still needs some extra presentation, we’ve got some detailed tips on preparing a pitch here.
When you’re in the room and you feel as though your nerves might get the better of you, focus on your breathing. As we get nervous, our bodies’ instincts kick in. Our heart rate increases, we begin to sweat, and your audience will be able to spot these signs of anxiety.
In advertising, clients will be looking for reliable professionals they can trust. Try to minimise these physical signs of nerves by slowing your breathing. Take a few minutes before the pitch to centre yourself, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.
Public speaking tips
We know that you’ve spent hours perfecting that pitch deck (or if you’re still working on it, we’ve got some tips for you here), but try not to rely on it too much when presenting. Using the pitch deck as a guide is helpful to make sure you don’t miss anything and to demonstrate the links between what you’re saying and what your audience is seeing.
However, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re simply reading from a script. Make sure you’re looking out at the prospective clients, rather than at your notes or at the screen. Using one or two-word prompts to remind you of where you are will be more effective.
Next, it’s time to learn the value of a pause. There will likely be a section of your pitch with a lot of numbers of statistics. Lean into a pause to allow your audience time to digest the figures. What’s more, a well-timed break in speaking can be helpful in strengthening a point, letting it sit with the audience before moving on to the next topic.
Now, this might feel like a lot to remember, but not to worry: there’s a way to make sure it all becomes second nature to you. Practice, practice, practice!
There might be surprises on the day, but if your pitch routine is something you can do with your eyes closed, nothing will faze you. Every time your practice, your confidence will grow and your pitch will become even more polished.
Once you feel comfortable delivering your pitch, try recording yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll notice when you see yourself speaking. This is a great opportunity to iron out any minor flaws or quirks before the pitch itself.
Presentation skills body language tips
We mentioned above that 55% of the success of a pitch relies on non-verbal communication. That’s why it’s vital to not only work on what you’re going to say, but what you’ll be doing as you say it. Here are a few things to try and avoid when speaking:
- Erratic hand gestures
- Shifting too much in your seat
- Looking away or not maintaining eye contact
- Blank or bored expressions
All of these gestures or habits can make you seem disengaged, bored, or anxious. You want to appear like you want to be there and are excited to share what your team can do in digital advertising, so relax, sit up straight, and smile!
How to present remotely
Now more than ever, many digital marketing and advertising pitches are being done remotely. In many ways, this can be an advantage, as you can more easily control your presenting environment when it’s contained in a small box on a screen.
All of these tips certainly still apply to a remote advertising pitch, but there are some extra things to make sure you’re aware of:
- Check your internet connection and camera before starting. The camera should be at your eye level, so it looks like you’re looking directly at the audience.
- Look into the camera when presenting remotely, not at yourself. This gives the feeling of maintaining eye contact with your virtual audience.
- Ensure you’re in a location where you won’t be disturbed, ideally with a plain, distraction-free background
- Use natural light as often as possible and place any extra lights in front of you rather than on the side or behind you.
What’s more, be prepared to bring your audience’s attention back to you. Did you know that roughly a fifth of people said that they looked at another screen during a presentation? Use pauses and changes to the tone of your voice to mix up your pitch and bring your clients back to the pitch.
Final tips for a successful advertising pitch
Before any pitch, make sure that any tech that you’re relying on works before the presentation. Tap through a few slides to make sure it runs smoothly, practice using a clicker if you’re using one, and test out anything else you might be using. You don’t want to fall at the final hurdle because of technology!
Finally, make sure you finish off with a strong closing statement. This could be a call to action, telling your clients what the next steps might be, or a rehearsed phrase that makes it clear it’s the end of your pitch. You want to go out with a bang rather than a murmur!
Good luck with your next pitch! With these tips in your back pocket, we’re sure you’re going to win them over.
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