Pitching Tips PT2
posted on June 10th, 2013 | in News

Pitching Tips PT2

Trained theatre actor Tessa Morton of TMP takes a different approach to presenting and pitching for business. In the second part of our series Tessa shares her secrets on how to deal with being given the graveyard slot in any pitch.

Oh no, you have been given the graveyard slot! Clever crafting. It’s no surprise that a good story captivates, a good play enthrals and a good film stays in your memory for years. It’s down to what I call “clever crafting.”

A craftsman has painstakingly shaped, edited, cut and manipulated a journey through the story with one thing in mind.... Engagement and Box Office.

Why should it be any different with a presentation?

You may think you don’t need to craft for efficiency sake, just write the information in a logical, linear, list type way with and add an agenda and a conclusion slide to polish it off.

Well if you do, don’t invite me, send it via email instead.

The medium of live communication, where one person is doing most of the talking to an audience of 5ish or more requires specific attention when it comes to content and organising your content.

This medium does not work unless engagement, rather than efficiency is your main purpose and one way of ensuring better engagement is through clever crafting.

I sat through three presentations last week delivered by highly successful board members of an ad agency and was witness to my most feared comment “ sorry, my bit is the boring bit” and “sorry, they gave me the graveyard shift”. There is no excuse to send your audience to sleep. Why bother when you could use another medium to convey the message and I could have stayed at home in my pyjamas.

Clever crafting is just that. Craft your content cleverly in a way that will keep your audience engaged.

Here’s how:

Slice your presentation into three parts and if you want, call them Acts.

Act I should hook, capture, and intrigue

Act II should keep interest through: different media, change of pace, new and interesting things, shock, surprise or challenge.

Act III should have resonance, a strong feeling to really hold the audience’s attention beyond the finish.

Does this format remind you of anything? Probably yes!, every good play you have seen or every good book you have ever read...

Build a presentation that you are excited to deliver, the journey is cleverly crafted and you are the craftsman.

Just yesterday I was with the creative director of Greek agency and his wise words resonated with me. He was talking about ideas and idea generation but it translated it to the value of engagement in presentations, perfectly.

“When a man stops you in the street to get money from you he will use one of three things. He will either offer you something you need, make you cry or make your laugh. That is how he gets your attention”... He said it more poetically and with a Greek accent, but his sentiment should be your acid test.

If you have not crafted these three things into the acts of your presentation then you are swimming against the tide of engagement and you can’t blame the audience, the time of day or the subject for not engaging.

So my tip number 2, stolen for the world of theatre is Don’t list… CRAFT!.

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