Pitching With Video, In A Virtual Environment, Like A Superstar

How To Polish Your Online Presentations With The Right Tools And Equipment


Pitching With Video, In A Virtual Environment, Like A Superstar

How To Polish Your Online Presentations With The Right Tools And Equipment

By Dorothy York, President and CEO of North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS)

The COVID-19 isolation restrictions have caused a surge of online presentations, which are the next best thing to being face to face with your audience.  Successful pitches can be improved with modern technology, including video services, to help prospect and pitch better.  There are a few simple changes you can make to your presentations to enhance the quality and effectiveness. 

Here are some strategy ideas that will help you with your online presentations using Zoom, GoToMeeting, GoogleMeet or whatever service you use to present to your prospects:

  1. Get Visual: When a prospect agrees to a presentation, or to set up an appointment to learn more, online presentations should be the only option you present, when pitching a prospect. If they have any concerns, they can say they would rather do a phone call, which you could accommodate upon request.   The good news about Zoom is that your presentation, which should be less than 45 minutes, will be free.  Keep in mind, there are three types of learners:

1- Visual Learners: those that need to see picture and graphs to visualize. 65%

2- Auditory Learners: those who need to hear the information. 30%

3- Kinesthetic Learners: those who need to engage in an activity in order to grasp a concept. 5%

You may be able to get in to meet with people in person, with social distancing and masks, but even after the “new normal” is over, and we can get back to business as usual, many people would rather have an online presentation than meet in person.  Presenting visually will be more effective for most people. 

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, only about 16% of people read what you send to them.  The vast majority of people scan.  What’s interesting about pictures is that is how you learn to read, by free association.  Presentation materials should have lots of pictures and way less text! 

For example, if you want to show who you are doing business with, you could show a page of company logos. This is an attractive way to build trust, with success stories.  You may want to write a recommendation or testimonial, based on recent emails or conversations, for your client to approve, to save time.  You can demonstrate who has gone back to business, instead of waiting until the pandemic is over.  If you have someone who went through having COVID-19 and is back you can suggest something like “this has really helped me to bounce back to business...”

There has never been a better time to make a pitch because as people are getting ready to get back to business, they are looking to engage.  Home improvement, financial planning, and health services are seeing a surge of activity, as people are getting back to work. 

As you are presenting, it’s important to pause to ask for questions after each slide, and try to keep it to 7 slides or fewer.  You can ask “how am I doing”, not “do you have any questions.” Ask if you are going to fast or too slow and if you were meeting expectations with regard to what they were hoping you would cover.  It’s easy to start going to fast if you get excited, so try to slow it down to a normal speed.  If they say they were hoping to get information that you were not planning to get to for another few minutes, you should jump right to that piece of information, including price.  Nobody cares about the history of your company, so you could save that for later.

Try comparing and contrasting with relevant successful clients that you are working with.  For example, within a category, you would want to give examples of similar organizations you have worked with, how they have been successful, with your help, and who is leading. 

As you are presenting, you can unshare your screen so that people can focus on you, instead of the presentation or the gallery view, and that way you can see their reaction as well, if they will share their camera view.  A lot of people try to use FaceTime on their phones, but not everyone has that and it’s tough to share visuals with that, so it may not be the best way to present.

Practice your presentation to get good at it and be open to criticism from co-workers, friends and family members.  Don’t present in a traditional way.  Take time to master the technology to do better and it will be impressive, especially to a younger audience.

  1. Webcam: It’s important to set-up your webcam for success. Take into account how you are being perceived. You can look alive and professional in video conferences and web meetings, the best that you can possibly look, with a good webcam.  If you are going into the brightest room in the house, as the sun gets stronger, you may become a silhouette.  As a representative of your company, you will have more success aligning yourself with others if you put your best self forward. 

There are some basic components of a desktop presentation set-up, including a background which is not too distracting, as some virtual backgrounds are.  The background should not be the focus of the conversation.  If you use one, because you are not in a place where you could show your actual background, or if you want to divert attention from the clutter in your office, choose one that is moderately nondescript.  A lot of people try to be clever and it’s usually distracting from the conversation.  If you have a background that could be used as a visual aid, that’s OK.  You don’t want to have a bunch of books about religion or politics behind you, because that is probably irrelevant to the conversation.  Instead of having a distraction, it is better to keep the conversation moving forward.  It’s cute to have your lovable cats, dogs and kids around but you will get more done if you can figure out how to separate them from the presentation process.   

The webcam and microphone that come with your computer or phone is not designed for professional communication.  People expect you to be better, to be a pro, and the right lighting is a big help.  You need to put your webcam near the top of your screen, not below it, so your eyes are in alignment with it.

Here are three inexpensive items that will help you look and sound much better:

1- Blue Snowball USB mic - $49

2- Selena Photography Table Top Lighting kit Softbox - $20

3- Boyata Laptop Holder - $57 (to help you position your webcam)

Shipping may be extra.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look like a pro.  Next time you are on a group Zoom call, you can tell who has a better setup.  You will be more successful if you  have a much better looking presentation. 

  1. Soapbox: You can use the Chrome browser Soapbox — Video Recorder extension to show presentation materials from your kit.  You can use Soapbox in Safari or Internet Explorer, but you might prefer the convenience of using this as a Chrome extension plug-in, which is free to a certain point of storage. 

If you go to Chrome, preferences and then extensions, you will find Soapbox as one of the tools installed in your browser.  (The other useful tool that you will see there, which we will explore, is Loom for Chrome. ) If you click on the little blue camera in the upper right hand corner of your browser, Soapbox will open and will ask you to line your head up so that it can make a video of you on one side and your presentation materials on the other side.  You should be in the center, between the lines.  You can click “start recording”.  In advance you can get the two or three pages from your kit ready to go and be shown on your desktop.  Anything on your desktop will be recorded.  You can choose which screen you want to record and click share, you can use full screen mode, and you can edit out yourself getting ready to do the recording at the end. 

You can start by saying “Hi John!  I have been trying to reach out to you via phone and I had a couple of cool things that I wanted to share with you so I thought I would record, just for you, a very quick video.”  You can trim it, edit it, customize it with a video title, include a call to action as a text link at the end, preview it, click share, copy this and the thumbnail, and then you can insert it into an email. 

Showing your website, is a little different, which we will review. 

Here are the circumstances in which you might use a piece of technology like this:

1- you have been calling on someone for a while and you know they are interested in a certain thing, and you want to show them what it looks like.

2- you might have something brand new that you are trying to get in front of people.  For that you could do one that is generic to send out to folks, but the personal approach will most likely work better. 

The ideal length of a video presentation should be broken down into bit sized chunks of about two or three minutes.  More than that can seem like an eternity to some in your target audience.  TikTok will work for videos of 15 seconds but that doesn’t allow for much of a presentation, unless you want to show off some new dance moves. 

  1. Loom: Presenting features of a website to prospects can be done more effectively with a tool called “Loom”, which is available as another Chrome extension. You can choose your microphone source, your camera source (such as FaceTime), you can choose screen and camera, screen only or camera only, you can adjust the size of your head on the screen, and then press “start recording.”  You can trim the size of the screen so you don’t show too much stuff.  After you stop the recording, you can copy the link, you can put a password on the link, you can personalize it with a label, and you can preview it, before you send.  Editing tools are built into the app.  You can save your videos in your personal library for future use.  It is usually better to personalize the videos than send to a big group.  You can keep deleting the videos, to avoid usage charges, or pay a small amount, about $12/month, to save those.   

It can be faster to answer questions on video.  If using Chrome, one of the things you can do is use the CloudHQ plug-in, to record videos right into an email.  People love it.  It’s faster to click that button, than it is to reply, sometimes. 

  1. Show and Tell: Your presentation is critical to overall understanding, so you have to get good at it.  Budget for the marketing trifecta of digital (e-newsletters, banner ads, sponsored content, including contests and promotions), social (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...) and traditional (a brand built up over the years that is a big part of the experience and tends to cost more for the implementation and delivery) needs to be allocated in proportion to ROI. 
  1. Vanity URL: You can look in the back end of Zoom or GoToMeeting, to set up a vanity URL, for a small fee, or find your personal link/code that will not change.  For example, you can set it up with your name, your nickname, or your company name.  It can be confusing to people if you use a different meeting id each time.  You can go into your email and create a template that contains this information, so you don’t have to create a brand new meeting every single time.  When you sign up for a Zoom account, even a free one, you are assigned a meeting id which never changes, so you could use that over and over. 

Beware that every now and then someone might be trying to get to a different Zoom meeting and pops onto yours, because it is saved in their web browser.  You can lock the meeting, once everyone is there, with a lock button, to be sure nobody else can get in. If someone drops off and comes back to the meeting, you will get a pop up that says that your meeting is locked and it will ask if you want to let the person have permission to come back in.  That can add a level of privacy to the meeting. 

  1. Practice: Pros practice and amateurs wing it.  You can step up your job and take it to the next level with a little extra effort.  You can get the visual learners to respond  better if you can improve your presentation.  If you get good at this, you will more easily impress the youngsters.  Don’t worry, they may be laughing at your jokes, but on mute, so you can’t hear them. 

With a little bit of finesse, you can polish your presentations using the right tools and equipment, to help you in a successful career that will help feed your family for a lifetime.

For more information contact us at info@napsnet.com or visit https://mynewstouse.com/.