6 Upgrades to turn your Good Ideas into Successful Pitches
Mastering the art of successful propositions is a valuable skill across industries and professional levels…but, few do it well. Have you ever caught yourself completing an RFP (Request for Proposal) or even an unsolicited pitch assuming a bit of knowledge is understood by your intended audience? If yes, then congrats! Half the battle is catching yourself when you try to take shortcuts or cheat your project. If no, you’re not alone, and after reading this, you should be able to spot those omissions as quickly as all of Tik Tok learned the WAP dance.
Presentations need to be thorough yet concise and factual but also based on storytelling. Finding the right balance can seem like a time-consuming challenge, but by checking yourself on a few key areas, you’ll be on your way to powerful proposals without late nights and a week’s worth of work.
UTILIZE DESIGN TO BOOST
Even if the bulk of your content misses the mark, your audience can be persuaded by a design that’s polished as well as on-brand. Let the chosen aesthetic of your presentation boost your pitch by forming your ideas into a framework that amplifies your story. Depending on your project, your presentation might take shape within different formats, but if possible, a tool like Canva can provide foundational templates and easy access to photos and graphics to enhance your proposal. Working within a Word doc? Consider areas where adding in design-forward graphic pieces from Canva or Photoshop would enhance your pitch. Branding can align with your company, your audience’s company or with the project itself, but ensure that everything is readable, navigable and digestible.
INSPIRE WITH STORYTELLING
Some topics can provide a bit more flavor right off the bat. That doesn’t mean that a drier subject matter doesn’t require the same intention for creating a vivid visualization of your concept. Utilize your presentation to paint a bold picture of your plan and always remember that your audience is seeing this information for the first time. They need to be sold the story complete with emotions, imagery and imaginings. Including a Mood Board style page in your presentation might accomplish this all at once, or consider sprinkling bits of the story throughout the entire deck. Either way, ensure you pair your visuals with powerful language that compliments your overall narrative.
THINK BEYOND THE VARIABLES GIVEN
Your proposal is presenting a solution to the problem(s) of your potential client. They might have been upfront with what their problem is but don’t let that limit you to only solving for the specific challenge identified. Do your research and consider all variables at play. Understand the audiences overall goals, competitors and market. Provide solutions for problems they didn’t even know they had or that they didn’t realize you could solve. Be creative and holistic in your approach to provide greater solutions than what were called for.
Show your audience small variations of your plan. This could be different color palates of otherwise uniform graphic pieces. It could be three slightly different floral design styles that each tweak the story of your overall design. It could be proposing two venue options to set the foundation to an upcoming event.
By providing a few options, you demonstrate that you have analyzed the situation from multiple angles and narrowed down to the top suggestions. You are informed and professional which also means adaptable and able to modify concepts as needed.
But, do be mindful of who you are presenting to…Know Your Audience. If they are looking for someone to make all decisions for them, be limited and strategic in options you present and always make it clear which one is your top suggestion.
BE EXHAUSTIVE, NOT EXHAUSTING
Provide detailed plans that outline all possible variables to a project. Outline how you will address particular challenges in the execution of your proposal and why you are the right person/company to do so.
Be thorough in the details you provide but do not overwhelm your audience with unnecessary information. Your presentation should make it clear you are the right person for the job as you have been creative, resourceful, adaptable and experienced. Your presentation should not provide so much information that your audience is fatigued from Page 1. Explain things simply and in a manner appropriate for the intended audience.
You’re the greatest tool you have in selling your concept. An amazing proposal in PowerPoint means nothing if you fumble the presentation. Let your deep understanding of your pitch drive the conviction that you are offering the best solution. Relax and let yourself be personable. Ultimately, people like people they can relate to and trust…so lose the cue cards, and speak to your expertise. Expect questions and challenges that might come your way and be prepared to respond respectfully with unique ideas that only you can provide.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Thompson
Jenna is a mountain based Yogi with a love for veggie focused foods. When she's not in Warrior Pose you can find her spending time with her Avalanche Rescue Dog Luna with a Matcha Latte in hand!