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- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.