Nowadays, more and more of our business is happening virtually, from online retail to video conferences. While unable to achieve the same intimate quality that face-to-face communication can, virtual meetings are more cost-effective and bring international businesses together with a few simple clicks.
When delivering a sales pitch or new business proposition, your personality can play such a big part in winning the trust and support of your audience. It’s much harder to achieve that same level of personal connection via webcam, but that doesn’t mean a virtual pitch can’t be just as successful.
Before you even begin your pitch, make sure you thoroughly research who you’re pitching to, even if you have interacted with this person or company before. Things could have changed, and you need to be as up to date as possible. This will help you tailor your material so it only contains directly relevant information, and could help bridge a more solid connection between you and your listener.
The next thing to keep in mind is simplicity. A webcam can create a bit of a disconnect so don’t beat around the bush. There might be background noise or other interruptions, and these can be distracting, so it’s essential you keep your listeners’ attention. Get right to the point: identify the problem that your company solves, how you solve it, and why your audience should be interested. People like a narrative, because it’s something they can easily identify, so a great way to convey your message is with a (brief) story.
When selling via a virtual meeting, don’t rely on props or a long PowerPoint presentation. You must anticipate any technical issues; in case your computer freezes, you won’t want to feel lost without your visual aids. If you want to make a short document to quantify your market, that’s fine, but make sure it’s nothing too speculative because potential investors can tell when you’re exaggerating or pretending to know things you don’t.
The last thing to perfect is your delivery. Practicing your material will help you notice areas that need work: perhaps you are ‘erm’-ing and ‘ah’-ing too much, or over-gesticulating, or speaking too quickly. Doing a few run-throughs makes for a much smoother presentation, and if you’re at a loss for confidence, turn to TED Talks. There are so many great talks that are sure to give you inspiration.
About the author
Gemma Falconer is a member of the Demand Generation team at Citrix and GoToMeeting, a cloud computing company that enables mobile workstyles. She has been using collaboration tools/video conferencing/online meetings for the past 6 years and splits her working time between the office and home. Having experienced the flexibility and various advantages of using such technology, Gemma would love for employers to seriously consider offering collaboration tools and flexible working for their employees so they too can truly benefit. Gemma is a mother, keen volleyball player and writer. Find her on Twitter on LinkedIn.