Tuesday, April 03, 2007

PR client pitch and presentation tips

I recently started tracking stats on this blog (more on that later this week), and discovered to my surprise that one of the more common search terms that sends people here is "client pitch." I did a quick post on it last year at this time that wasn't exactly heavy on information, so I have a feeling the people who arrive are disappointed in what they find.

So, to remedy the situation, here are notes from this year's guest speaker, plus a link to a lecture that's geared toward my students but may prove useful to other students (and maybe even professionals).

Brian Brodrick, a former student of mine who now heads the Athens office of Jackson Spalding, discussed various forms of client presentations, focusing mostly on new business pitches. He advocates RSS (no, not Really Simple Syndication): Relevant, Strategic, and Simple. He also emphasized the importance of including an element of surprise-- recommending an unusual tactic, singing a song, playing a video-- something to make the presentation stand out from others.

Brian particularly stressed the need for preparation, knowing how many people will be there and who they are, doing your homework, rehearsing the presentation even if it means reminding your boss that practice time is needed. He also said that anyone who attends the presentation should plan to speak--I think this is a direct quote: "The only thing more annoying than a young, silent person is an old, silent person." He suggested leaving some ideas in your pocket-- withholding a few interesting strategies or tactics until the Q&A so you still have something great to discuss. One of Brian's most important points, "expect the unexpected," proved unexpectedly relevant as the classroom's CD drive didn't work and he had to wing part of his presentation without the video clips he'd brought.

Finally, he talked about the personal side. "It's not about you, it's about THEM," he said, reminding the students to focus on the client rather than an individual or agency. "If they invited you to present it's pretty obvious they know you're capable." He also talked about reading the room--recognizing the decision-maker, being sure to shake hands with everyone in the room, and not being afraid to make changes midstream if it's clear you're not connecting.

Great advice, and I hope it helps whoever you "client pitch" keyword searchers are!

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Be sure to add the link to this post from the original one, so they can find this one too. :-) I am impressed since I have never beefed up my content based on looking at my search terms. I have learned something today. Thanks professor.
Great idea, Kami. I'll do it right now.

As for beefing up content, I've only got a handful readers to please. Based on your consistently high rankings, I don't think your readers are complaining about your content!
Hi there,

Your blog makes interesting reading. I wonder i your readers might also be interested to read the experiences of my first year undergraduates' irst experience of client pitching. For several, it was a valuable experience in ovrcoming fear and shyness, and developing a rapport with a senior professional in what was clearly quit an intimidating real life atmostphere:


Jon Cope
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