Tuesday, 23 February 2016

5 Tips On Presenting A Killer Pitch | Third Year Series

About time I filled you in on my how my third year at university is going, this time round it was a presentation. Here I share my experience alongside some tips I picked up on the way enabling you to pitch to perfection.
The brief and concept was short, sweet and much easier to get my head around. After completing my dissertation you think I couldn't imagine anything more daunting and then they threw some public speaking my way. Although I'm very confident, in accessed situations like presentations I let my nerves get the better of me and this actually in my head seemed a much bigger task. The feedback from previous presentations is all the same with a shaky start and was determined to beat my fear when it really counts. I thought you might like to hear some of my tips and I can share what I learnt from this experience.

1 | Preparation
Preparation is everything if you don't have some sort of plan, organise your time efficiently or have a clue what you are even aiming for then we already have a problem. Brainstorming is usually a good place to start as it helps to spark lots of random ideas from a common theme. That way you can collect a lot of things which can be combined, explored and refined into something special.

After that you need to set your aim and objectives to ensure you complete the task fully and in the time provided. Make sure these are achievable so you don't discourage yourself if you get behind, but also leave enough time so there isn't a mad rush at the end. You can also feel super satisfied when you tick each one off your list and make you feel like you are getting somewhere. Planning is important to also ensure you keep the end goal in mind throughout the process making it hard for you to go off track in to something not relevant. When you have a good plan all you have to do is follow it and you will get there. By breaking it down it seems already much easier to digest and you can simply take it one baby step at a time.

Preparation is a process that continues throughout it's the little things that can help you too feel more confident on the big day. For example you can get your outfit out the evening before, plan your journey, rehearse in the area and make sure everything works.



2 | Know Your Stuff
Research is everything, without it you cannot justify your point and without justification no one will invest in your idea. Both primary and secondary research is needed to show you have explored your area thoroughly. Secondary research can include market size, company information, upcoming trends, consumer habits and so much more. Primary research at times can provide you with more detail or answer questions that may be specific to your concept. Primary information can be gained through interviews, focus groups, questionnaires and other avenues - pick forms which are appropriate for the end use.

You should know the ins and outs of your idea when pitching it to someone who may not know anything about that field. Break down everything you say ensuring you aren't confusing them with jargon or terms you assume they know. You don't want to leave the audience with unanswered questions, if they do have something to ask you need to ensure you've got a full response. If it's something you don't know on the spot DO NOT PANIC, just say "I don't actually have that information on my right now but I can email that to you" and follow it up with afterwards - make sure you don't forget. If you know the risks or similarities state the obvious and then follow it with your unique selling point and what makes this different. 



3 | Look The Part
I'm not sure what the crazy fact is but people have already half made up their mind when you've just walked in the door. Dress smart even if it doesn't say to, it will impress your recipient. If it is for a company check the business attire rules to ensure you abide to them. If it helps I have shown you an example of what I wore to my presentation. The black dress is high necked, with mid sleeves and knee length - perfect for a corporate environment however some may prefer a suit (which I also have). I wear heels on a daily basis but these are lower than usual, smart and simple but flats is perfectly fine. I opted for mac as my coat to finish the look in a polished and sophisticated manor. It's important to be comfortable so make sure something isn't bothering you as it would only distract you.

Outfit:
Dress | New Look
Mac | Zara
Bag | Zara
Shoes | Topshop

Looking the part can also involve body language. Smile as soon as you greet them it will instantly make you feel more relaxed and show enthusiasm. Shake their hand and don't be weak, limp and lifeless, show them you mean business but have caution because you don't want to be overpowering. Stand or sit up straight depending on how you are pitching, make sure you aren't occupied fiddling with something if it helps place your hands on your lap or behind you back. Those are just a few little tips to think about how you come across, there is more like eye contact and so on, but don't focus on it too much otherwise you will become robot. Some hand gestures can be good they can show passion or direct them to something on the screen but it's just something to keep in mind.
4 | Believe You Can Do It
Believing in yourself is what I would say holds the majority of people back. If you walk in there unconfident it shows and it feeds into your pitch without you even noticing. I for one am completely guilty of this, you get so caught up in that nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach that everything goes out the window. Do something that calms you down whether that is working out, a calming tea or simply a pep talk from your mum whichever works best for you do it. 

You can never expect someone to believe in you if you don't believe in yourself. Why you are doing it is the part of the reason people buy into it, they love the story behind it, to see how it could fit into their lives and that there is a great person behind it! Having a little faith will get you somewhere, trust me.




5 | Deliver
All that's left if for you to simply say what needs to be said. If you have rehearsed it 101 times it's not big deal. I could probably still talk you through everything I said for my fifteen minute presentation still now! It looks best if you don't use cue cards you automatically look more professional and in grading cases gains you brownie points. Put sentence starters and key information you need on your way of presenting (i.e. powerpoint) and you'll be surprised how much you can say. Remember that they don't know what you are going to say (unless you read word for word what's on the board which I wouldn't advise) so you are in control and they don't know if you go wrong unless you show it. After following all the steps before hand this will be easy and it's only a small amount of time and it will all be over. 

When talking make sure you create a good pace, take pauses when necessary allowing them to absorb the information. Speak clearly you don't want them to miss any key facts or statistics. If you need to take a moment to breathe, do it and then when you are ready get back on track. One thing that helps me is something called a 'victory roll' it's something you do before hand and by imagining how it goes in your head. Do it as if it goes perfectly and you get the high grade, job, investment or whatever the outcome and then just go in and do exactly that. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and good luck if you are using this for your pitch, make sure you let me know how it goes!



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