A few years ago, I took a pitch team to watch Miss Saigon in London’s West End on the eve of our presentation to clients. It was partly a team-building exercise, but there was also a strategic message: “Look how hard you have to work - look at the HELICOPTER ON STAGE - to keep an audience’s attention for a couple of hours. Did your eyes stay on the action the whole time? Did your mind wander to what you’re doing at the weekend, or how your co-worker’s encroachment of the shared elbow rest is totally symptomatic of their working style?” Pitching needs to be an excellent piece of theatre for you to even stand a chance.
Roll forward to 2020: Hello Covid; goodbye theatre. What is this now? Pitch Zoom? I mean, should we all just give up and go home? 2021: Is it better yet?
One of the topics we talk to clients a lot about is that the era of virtual isn’t ending anytime soon. Even when it’s safe to meet, travel habits (and travel budgets) have undergone a permanent transformation. So has everyone’s comfort level with video-conferencing: we might not love it but we’re definitely more comfortable with it.
Virtual pitching isn’t going away either. So if you believed in pitch theatre pre-Covid, you better start engaging with how to do it virtually - before your competitors do. Virtual pitch theatre is a thing. Let’s get into it.
It’s unlikely your voice will stop working in a real-life pitch. The air that transmits your speech from one side of the room to the other will not have ‘technical difficulties’. Everyone in the room will probably be bathed in the uniform of unflattering glow from the ceiling’s fluorescent lighting.
These things can’t be assumed for virtual. We help our clients by auditing these things - and more - in advance of a pitch, so that we can give guidance, put in place technical upgrades and plan contingencies.
No matter what you’re selling, ‘having your shit together’ will be on every buyer’s list of things they’re looking for.
Virtual pitch theatre is more of an approach than a literal description. Nonetheless, we’ll make the obvious point that you’re on screen now, not on ‘stage’ in a meeting room. Embrace the medium. The most engaging virtual presentations are those that understand how to speak to an audience consuming content on a screen.
We work with our clients on things like - deep breath… on screen graphics for openings, lower thirds, transitions; multiple camera angles for variety; candid cuts to show personality; designing and fabricating branded scenic backgrounds; designing virtual backgrounds; renting professional studio space; creating broadcast news-style ‘tickers’ to preview what’s coming next; using green-screen technology; editing pre-recorded content; integrating live action with presentation graphics (and not just a PowerPoint deck in a box next to your head).
You and your team are the talent in this live show. They need to be focused on their performance. They don’t need to worry about whether their camera and mic is live, whether they need to adjust their lighting, whether they’re on the right slide, or if the video is playing properly. In a truly polished virtual pitch, there’s a production team handling all of this - in a ‘virtual green room’ if everyone is working remotely, or behind the cameras in a studio if you’re investing in a full professional broadcast.
The floor is yours. But we can help with building the floor, giving it a polish, shining a spotlight on it, handing you a mic and counting you in, in 3, 2, 1...