McCarthy, Patsy and Hatcher, Caroline (2002) 'Selling Your Ideas'

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McCarthy, Patsy and Hatcher, Caroline (2002) 'Selling Your Ideas'


<ul><li><p>Copyright Notice This Digital Copy should not be downloaded or printed by anyone other than a student enrolled on the named course or the course tutor(s). Staff and students of this University are reminded that copyright subsists in this extract and the work from which it was taken. This Digital Copy has been made under the terms of a CLA licence which allows you to: access and download a copy; print out a copy; This Digital Copy and any digital or printed copy supplied to or made by you under the terms of this Licence are for use in connection with this Course of Study. You may retain such copies after the end of the course, but strictly for your own personal use. All copies (including electronic copies) shall include this Copyright Notice and shall be destroyed and/or deleted if and when required by the University. Except as provided for by copyright law, no further copying, storage or distribution (including by e-mail) is permitted without the consent of the copyright holder. The author (which term includes artists and other visual creators) has moral rights in the work and neither staff nor students may cause, or permit, the distortion, mutilation or other modification of the work, or any other derogatory treatment of it, which would be prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author. Course Code: TH919 Course of Study: Cultural Entrepreneurship Name of Designated Person authorising scanning: Christine Shipman Title: Presentation skills : the essential guide for students Name of Author: McCarthy, P. Name of Publisher: Sage Publications Name of Visual Creator (as appropriate): </p></li><li><p>1 1 Selling your ideas: </p><p>Proposing and pitching </p><p>rtl introduce you to the maRic that happens in hiR pitches, when tbe wbole is hiRRer tban tbe sum of tbe parts, wben 'sometbinR clicks' </p><p>and a dull pitch hecomes V(,l)! </p><p>'And the winner is ... Sydney!' With these words, Juan Antonio Samaranch announced the. reward of winning one of the world's most lucrative pitches for business. Sydney had won the honour of staging the 2000 Olympic Games. This was a very public pitch that was televised and beamed around the world for all to see. The Olympic pitch, occurring every four years, is the archetype for business pitches but, in fact, there are many important pitches taking place every hour in all parts of the world. These are presen-tations that are designed to persuade the audience to a definite course of action in the services of the presenting team and their organisation. </p><p>Selling your your goods or your services is one of the most challenging and potentially creative communication situ-ations you may ever be in. As a way of communicating the power and complexity of selling, we will tell you a story about one of the most creative and persuasive of sales. </p><p>The management of British Rail, after a considerable amount of criticism and cLlstomer dissatisfaction, approached a large public relations firm in London to handle a publicity campaign to them 'back on track'. An appointment \vas </p><p>184 </p><p>Andrew Casey</p></li><li><p>SELLING YOUR IDEAS 185 </p><p>made for them to meet with the public relations team at the firm's offices. </p><p>On arrival, the British Rail group went immediately to recep-tion. As they approached the desk, they were surprised to hear a heautifully groomed but poorly spoken assistant on the phone talking loudly ahout her escapades of the previous evening. She ignored their presence and went on enjoying her socialising. Finally, she put down the phone, and in a rather uninterested way, directed them to the principals of the firm for their scheduled appointment. They were, in fact, directed to the wrong room, and after some confusion, finally found the right conference room. </p><p>By now they were feeling somewhat concerned, but this turned to when one of the principals rushed in, apologised for being late, and said there would be a short hold-up before the meeting could start. </p><p>At the same time, a badly dressed tea lady entered the room, picked up some rather cheap and cracked china and offered tea. The British Rail executives were shaken. </p><p>The public rdations team then swiftly entered the room, stood smiling but confident, and opened the presentation of their campaign proposal by saying, 'You now know how it feels to be a customer of British Rail. </p><p>Needless to say, they won the 3 million contract. At Portobello Road in London, you can ohserve some of the </p><p>experts in the art of pitching as the crowds gather to hear them sell their wares. Whether you are a professional in an advertising agency, law firm, accounting firm, construction company or another kind of business, you may have to sell your products every day in the twenty-first-century marketplace. This may seem a long distance from the spiel and high energy of Portobello Road, but those salesman may be able to offer very sound advice, as there are many cases where pitches are notoriously poorly planned and under-prepared. The expert pitch requires a strategic plan and a creative ability to carry it off. </p><p>You may think that YOll will never be called upon to present a really high-powered presentation, but remember that whenever you set out to influence others, such as when you are em a committee, or even presenting a seminar or research proposal, you should apply the same principles. There may also be many times when YOll have to develop a formal proposal to suggest ways to change your workplace or poliCies. </p></li><li><p>186 SELLING YOUR IDEAS </p><p>Remember that the suggested in this chapter can be of use to you in many situations who::re you want to influence others to your ideas. </p><p>Now we are to tell you how you can start winning contracts and int1uencing others to adopt your ideas. </p><p>We propose that there are four important strategies you should consider: </p><p>1. Develop a approach to belp you prepare. 2. Show your audience the benefits of your plan. 3. Attend to the concerns of your audiences and develop </p><p>counter-arguments for those concerns. 4. Demonstrate the soundness of your arguments and the credi-</p><p>bility of your position.; </p><p>DEVELOP A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO HELP YOU PREPARE Your main purpose may be to be chosen for the work on offer or to have your audienco:: accept your proposal for change. However, that is far too general a purpose to carry you into a focLlsed pitch or proposal. The real purpose is strongly linked to what the granting company or audience would give as its main reasons for choosing YOLI or your ideas over other contenders. </p><p>Check your most important messages, or those of each member of the team, and keep the focus on these throughout. Remember that you only cloud your main points by too much extraneous detail. Choose the number of things you are going to be able to say, keeping to the rule of spending three or four minutes to build each point thoroughly. You need to extend the statement 'we want to be chosen because ... ' or this is the best plan hecause ... '. Keep sight of the practical side of what you have to offer, and YOll could also be balancing the economic advantage of the path you are choosing. You may even wish to offer alternative solutions, to give the audience a choice of budget options or outcomes. FOCllS on your purpose early, although the purpose should be open to modification in the planning stage. This will help to keep your planning relevant. </p><p>We have talked about group presentations in Chapter 4, and YOll will remember the importance of choosing and balancing the capabilities of your team. These points need to be reviewed when YOll are beginning planning. Do not forget to appoint a team </p><p>Andrew Casey</p><p>Andrew Casey</p><p>Andrew Casey</p><p>Andrew Casey</p></li><li><p>SELLING YOUR IDEAS 187 </p><p>leader. if there is not a natural leader in the hierarchy of YOllf organisation or student group who should fill the role. Rememher that the bonds you show as you interact, listen, and refer to one another during the presentation are of the extent to which you will he seen as a cohesive cooperative team. </p><p>Your professionalism and attention to detail during the pitch will be taken to reflect your abilities, as a company or group, to continue these strengths in the service you One of the dient's strongest concerns is often the fact that, while the pitch may he presented by senior members of the company, more junior staff will actually carry out the work. You need to face this objection and counteract it with clear proof of the leadership and service that the presenting team is ready to contribute. </p><p>Cndouhtedly it is important, also. that you try to get your team into a good position on the pitch list on presentation day. Pitches can he won from any position, hut first or last are the most mem-orable spots, as the research into primacy and recency has shown. However, you would prohably not choose to go at the end of a long day with many pitches ahead of you, unless you are slife you can bring a strong element of surprise and interest. You would certainly avoid a repetition of any ohvious elements if placed in this position, as they have probably already heen reiterated too many times. </p><p>When YOll are in the planning stages, YOll need to follow the advice that we have given you earlier in the book, to collect all data that may be useful, and to brainstorm and keep your options open. </p><p>An important part of the process of data-gathering and syn-thesis is to learn the rules of the game that the audience you are addressing likes to play. This includes the sort of language they understand and appreciate, the image they feel most comf0l1abie with and, indeed, all the that could be called their cultural norms. </p><p>It is important to fitructure clearly, with a focus on the speaking situation. One of the most dangeroufi pitfalls for proposal and pitch presenters occurs when they also present a long and complex written submifision. \ve recently worked with a manage-ment group from the construction industry. The presenters wanted to fill their half-hour of presentation with all of the important details from their lengthy written submission. When experts in a field know a lot about a topic and have spent a great deal of time on the details, they have the tendency to want to share it all. It was </p></li><li><p>188 SELLING YOUR IDEAS </p><p>important for the management group to realise that speaking is a completely different medium. Consequently, our clients had to start all over again from a different perspective. </p><p>They had to ask themselves clear questions, such as the following: </p><p> What is the most important thing we want to say? How should we phrase that 'most important thing? Could that become a theme for our presentation? \'Vhich elements of our written submission should he kept in </p><p>a spoken situation? How could \ve best structure our to be coherent </p><p>and focused and present the big picture, but not leave out the concrete evidence? </p><p> How can we best present our own experience to support our claims? </p><p>Written submissions are often very complex and detailed-but not even the best listeners can retain very much detail. Our clients needed to let go of this detail and hope that their earlier written document, and any f()llow-up material, would do this task for them. Remember not to distract the listeners with written material when YOll are speaking. This should always come as a follow-up to your powerfully interactive presentation. </p><p>There are some circumstances where you may want your audience to take careful notes as you progress through a point-form discussion. In these instances, the PowerPoint handout may be used as a support, and could help your listeners to consider the detail after the event. The handout might also act as a prompt to memory, and help to distinguish your proposal from others, if it is competing with several on the same day. </p><p>Our management group needed to find interesting anec-dotes and stories that would represent their experience and capabilities, and which would, at the same time, help to show their humanity and approachability to the people they hoped to work with. These are usually not the stories you include in a formal written document and so it is a very different kind of preparation. </p><p>For example, when one construction manager told his personal story of saving several thousands of dollars on a large hospital complex simply by being 'on the ball', he showed the </p><p>Andrew Casey</p><p>Andrew Casey</p><p>Andrew Casey</p><p>Andrew Casey</p><p>Andrew Casey</p><p>Andrew Casey</p></li><li><p>SELLINC YOUR IDEAS 189 </p><p>importance and usefulness of having his pitch team oversee the project He explained that there can be oversights when builders execute the design from a complex set of plans. This is, he argued, where construction management is so important. He showed that his team would attend to many details, such as making sure that ordinary power points were not installed by mistake where points capable of handling extra electrical capacity for special hospital machinery, such as x-ray machines and generators, were required. With these anecdotes he built up the confidence of his audience in his ability to carry out the task. This sort of infor-mation and credibility-building is easy to include in a spoken presentation, but is not appropriate in a written submission. </p><p>One of the participants commented at the end of the session that this structuring in a focllsed way was the most important thing we had talked about, from his point of view. He commented that he believed tbat structuring should be a strength for people in his profession, as they dealt with systems all the time. However, it is difficult to rethink in terms of tbe strengths of structuring for the spoken word, and find a different approach, in professions where the written submission has been very dominant. It is important to spend time on the overall structure, and on each individual's structure also. </p><p>As a preparation strategy, to help you approach your task, we recommend that you take speech consultant ,'.;eit Flett's sugges-tion. In his excellent book Pitch Doctor, Flett suggests setting lip a 'war room" where you can keep all your cuttings, visuals and plans together, and have a spot that is seen as the strategy area. Charts on the wall or your whitcboard that reflect your planning </p><p>can help YOLl to quickly pick up the threads as each meeting progresses. Even for student presentations, the idea of a war room has its lllerits. </p><p>SHOW THE BENEFITS OF YOUR PLAN This strategy has the explicit purpose of focLlsing your listeners on how your idea, product or se!Vice can benefit them. </p><p>Usually, as the owners or providers of a we have a particular cornmitment to that se!Vice. We feel it has particular qualities that make it a good se!Vice. However, this strategy demands that you take your concerns away from what you belie,'e are the best qualities of your service, and research the benefits </p></li><li><p>190 SELLING YOUR IDEAS </p><p>your clients will experience if they use your service. It demands that you consider the organisational objectives of your client to find ways to describe how your service matches the uses to whic...</p></li></ul>