Suffice to say, COVID-19 has thrown a bit of spanner in the works when it comes to most of our day-to-day activities. But despite the unexpected limitations, our world at Nomensa hasn’t stopped. Sure, there have been challenges, but now armed with new tools and tactics, we’ve been able to ensure business as usual for our clients, our own agency and our sales activity.

In the past, we’d foster chemistry with our clients through physical meetings where we have the opportunity to really get to know their team and solidify our proposed project plan. Predictably, we haven’t had a chance to do that much recently.

But luckily for us, we’re no strangers to pitching, presenting or working remotely. Even before the lockdowns, there could be limitations on travel, especially when the prospective work was international, or our attending team members were spread across our various offices in London, Bristol and Amsterdam.

We have put in serious legwork to make sure our remote pitching process is completely equal to that of in person. Leaning on new technologies has been central to maintaining communication and transparency with our clients. But there’s more to delivering impactful presentations than just selecting the right software. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learnt this year across various projects and pitches.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

The majority of us may be home-based for the moment, but we’re still able to hop on Teams and use programmes like Mural or Miro to begin to collaboratively pull ideas together. It is vital to keep talking to each other throughout the process, putting in brief checkpoint calls where needed while making sure the team have the focus time they need to pull together the material.

These efforts are further supported by agile ceremonies, like stand-ups, show and tells, and backlog planning meetings. Then, once our outputs are almost ready to be released to the world, we use clearly identified responsibilities to break up tasks, making short work of a shared presentation deck. We also bounce ideas off each other, warm up for the presentation beforehand and do practice question sessions.

Keep the presentation concise

Sometimes practitioners have a tendency to cram as much into the allotted time as possible because we have so much we want to talk about. We might get away with it face-to-face, as it’s harder for people to tune out without being impolite, but that doesn’t make it good practice.

Information overload is never good in any presentation, let alone a remote one. So, we always get our points across in a short and snappy way that excites, informs and keeps everyone engaged while allowing more time for questions and conversation. After all, we can’t risk minds wandering when we’re discussing how our solutions can transform an organisation.

Shake it up a bit

A huge challenge in a remote environment is maintaining attention. Everyone struggles to keep their attention high if someone is talking at them for a solid hour. Add in a remote working situation and no one can be blamed if they quickly check their emails or message a co-worker during a presentation.

One way we bring people back into the metaphorical room is with an activity that requires them to not only pay attention, but join in. This could be as simple as asking for questions periodically throughout the presentation to encourage some discussion. Alternatively, we may plan a more structured activity, such as running a short workshop, to explore organisational goals and blockers in a more in-depth manner.

Make the most of a remote setting

We often find with any pitch or presentation we want to take a huge number of people with us. We have a great team and want to show as many of them off as possible. However, due to logistics, travel and generally not wanting to overwhelm our client’s team, we choose to reduce the number of attendees.

In a remote setting, these limitations are gone. We still don’t want to overwhelm our would-be clients by having a dozen people present, but this can be an opportunity to introduce several key people and have them on hand for questions. Not to mention, it helps our more junior staff learn the ropes without being centre stage.

Practice what we preach

A remote presentation is an excellent demonstration of how efficiently we conduct and run any remote activity. As a result, we don’t leave any room for error. We practice speaking roles in advance, do multiple run-throughs and make sure the conference software works for both sides. By preparing for worst case scenarios, we’re able to plan ahead and handle whatever technical woes may come our way, like if the connection fails or screensharing gives up the ghost.

In this new world we find ourselves in, it’s even more vital to make a good impression and demonstrate our capability in any situation. So, if you have a project proposal waiting, we’re ready to get started. Just ask the Customer Experience Lead at Cornwall Council who recently remarked: “Nomensa has made a complicated project, delivered remotely, a dream. They’re one of the best suppliers we’ve worked with.”

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