Amazingly apt. Wise words from the Dalai Lama. What does it have to do with pitching effectively, story-telling or multimedia? Everything. As humans we love to talk. Only the other day I was at a meeting where my client was explaining the concept and purpose of their project. Such passion. Such words. All talk. As I listened, I gleaned as much about the project as I did their personalities; unprepared, unsure and unguided. It was all about them. There was nothing in this chat that provided me with reason to want to listen in depth, to discover more or to feel an affinity with the project.
However, had they stopped to understand why I might be interested in this project or why I wanted to listen to them or what I may have wanted to discover about them – I could have been won over.
It is often a defence mechanism or an arrogance on part of people pitching to others, that they immerse themselves in their own words, forgetting why they’re pitching in the first place. That’s why talking alone will not win you a pitch – but listening to your audience will. Listening allows the discovery of something new and that is how successful people in business, charities, enterprises, the public sectors or corporations win pitches.
Finding The Right Pitch
Let’s begin at the beginning. What is a pitch? In the dictionary the word has several referenced meanings relevant to different scenarios, one of which is persuasion. Here ‘pitch’ means “a speech or act that attempts to persuade or buy or do something”
To pitch effectively, you the ‘pitcher’ need to learn something new or discover something new about the target audience. This way you can adapt your pitch with a twist, a fresh perspective or a new fact that will hold the attention of your audience.
When selling a new idea, a product or a partnership – the person you are selling to wants to know ‘WHY YOU’? This ‘WHY YOU’ means they need to discover something about your idea, concept, product or partnership that they didn’t know before.
This is their ‘take away’. This gives them a reason to adopt your idea, to buy into your concept, to like your product or be in partnership with you.
Finding Something New
This can be done via research of the target audience. Looking into areas such as their psychology, their habits, their desires, hopes, dreams aspirations, their goals and daily routines.
Interviewing people close to your target audience or members of the team you will be pitching to, gives you first hand insights.
Background research of a company, it’s achievements, it’s vision, it’s ethics, it’s news, it’s people, it’s past, present and future goals add the finishing touches to your ‘storypitch’.
Finding Your Angle
As a trained journalist, programme-maker and story-teller, I adapt stories according to who I am trying to appeal to. In the same way, a pitch presentation using multimedia, is no different. I see ‘finding your angle’, as another way to ‘see the story’. It is almost as if you are standing at a different section of a triangle at various times looking in at the same central point. Everyone is on different trajectories, but aiming for the same ending. Tracking these lines of thought provides a creative power house of story ideas. Then like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces that best fit can be lined up together. This creates your final ‘storyline’ and you have found your angle.
Finding Your Platform
The final story reached collaboratively needs to be adapted and developed for particular mediums of story-telling presentation. How do you know if your story suits a multimedia approach? An easy litmus test is SAC.
S — SIMPLE Is your story simply told?
A — AUTHENTIC Is your story authentic?
C — CREATIVE Is your story creative visually?
By collaboratively asking yourselves the SAC questions you will be able to work out if your story is a multimedia fit.
Finding The Balance
Everything depends on the final pitch presentation. This story-telling performance can tip the balance. Structuring the presentation is like telling a story. It must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Hook your audience in straight away at the beginning. Build in a timed talk that’s relevant to the multimedia story-telling element. End on a take home thought that brings the audience back round from their journey of discovering something new. A new equilibrium is created. The final pitch presentation won.
Anshu Rastogi is a story-telling expert helping charities, SME’s & individuals to win new business and understand the pitching process through visual media.
Please sign up to her course http://multi-media-storytelling.eventbrite.co.uk/