At a glance
Build a trusted network
Before you can pitch an idea or a product, you need to establish trust. In your networking efforts, focus less on selling and more on laying the foundation for a long-term professional relationship.
Building networks in a virtual or hybrid environment takes a little extra effort, including making yourself more memorable by having your camera on, using your full name and business name in your online profile, and actively participating in online discussions.
Whether networking in person or online, don’t forget the all-important step of following up and keeping in touch with your contacts – it’s all about human connection first.
Stories grab attention
Getting and holding someone’s attention in a world where we are constantly bombarded by new information requires appealing to their emotions. It is human nature to like compelling stories, so craft yours carefully and practice delivering it in a way that grabs not just someone’s mind, but their heart as well.
To be effective, your pitch should have a hero (the product or service), a villain (the problem) and most importantly, a happy conclusion (the solution). Efficiency is key, so save time and words by focusing on the solution you can provide. A simple tip to know if your story is effective is to test it on others and gauge if it is both clear and emotive.
People matter and, most importantly, their characters matter.
You must communicate not only your ideas, but also your integrity and trustworthiness. Partners, investors and employers must feel that they can collaborate with you and your team.
How you respond to questions will reveal if you have what it takes, so prepare answers to the hard questions. If they start to raise objections to your pitch, don’t become defensive or argumentative. Practice your replies and be ready for any direction your pitch may take.
By showing others that you are adaptable and open to feedback and alternate views, you will be seen as someone with whom they want to enter into a partnership.
If you want to win support for your ideas or initiatives, you’ll need to master the art of influence – a skill that taps into the emotions that drive people’s actions.
Growing your influence can be done in many ways, but all positive influence relies on encouraging team building and collaboration. If stakeholders know that your team works well together, it will communicate your effectiveness as a leader.
Showing that you are available for discussion and willing to listen will be the foundation on which trust is built and can be established quickly in your initial conversation with potential clients or important stakeholders.
Research has shown that speakers who are animated and use gestures to accompany what they say are more effective. Showing that you are comfortable and relaxed through the active use of body language communicates that you are a warm and approachable person.
If you’re pitching virtually, using body language can be more difficult, but using the right tone of voice and vocal modulation can be equally effective. If you need to build up your skills in this area, practice by experimenting with your pitch, talking speed and volume.