How to Make Effective Phone Pitches

While it’s important to know how to deliver both a formal stand-up presentation and an informal seated-around-the-conference-table type, you’re probably doing more phone pitches than ever before.  They’re a great choice – and very cost-effective – when participants are far-flung around the country or globe.  Here are some tips to help you make your phone pitch successful:

Speak in short chunks and use short sentences.  Short sentences are easiest for listeners to process, especially when there are no visual aids to enhance the words they’re hearing.  Break up that paragraph-long explanation and incorporate more punctuation into your text.

Speak in shorter chunks overall.  Don’t ramble on for five minutes.  Stop frequently, take a breath, and check in with your listeners.  Ask if they have any questions or feedback before forging ahead.  “Are there any questions at this point?” “Let me pause here and get your reactions.”

What should you do when there is silence on the other end? Give it a few more seconds, then try, “I’ll take it from the silence that everyone is in agreement (or that no one has any questions), so I’ll move on to the next agenda item.” You can also try asking them a question“Of the three points we’ve discussed so far, which one do you think will be the most problematic?” You can also ask and answer a question yourself to get the ball rolling – “You may be wondering, how long will the implementation take?”

Use names periodically as you speak.  “To your point, Bob,…”  “Janet, I know your division…” Names are a great way to keep your listeners engaged and on their toes.

Two tips for team pitches:

  1. Get all the local team members into the same room for the pitch.  You’ll feed off each other’s energy and the entire presentation will be better because of it.
  2. Ask team members to put their tech toys away – no Blackberries, ear buds, etc.  A divided focus and distractions will hurt the presentation, not help it.

© 2010 Jill Bremer • All Rights Reserved

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