This is a guest post written by Dr Gemma Munro, an Adelaide-based life coach and facilitator and the Director of Inkling Coaching. Gemma has a PhD in performance psychology and extensive experience working with senior-level leaders to maximise their performance and enjoyment at work.
I know a number of women recruiters and, to a tee, I would describe them as capable, charming and confident. I also know that this confidence can crumble rather quickly in the face of the dreaded client pitch. I have experienced this firsthand, having spent a number of years in executive recruitment. The palms start sweating, the heart starts beating faster, and suddenly all our usual confidence and charm seems to sink into our stockings.
Over the years, I developed a number of techniques to start enjoying client pitches – and what do you know, my success rate improved phenomenally. I’m now a coach and facilitator, but client pitches are one of my favourite parts of the job. Here are my top five tips to shine in front of clients and make the most of every pitch opportunity:
1. Create a pitch that captures your clients’ attention
Most clients have one question going through their minds when listening to a pitch. That question is ‘what’s in it for me?’; in other words, how will this recruiter make my job easier?’. To pitch well you need to put yourself in your clients’ shoes – what problems are keeping them awake? Shape your pitch around what is going to make your clients sit up in their chairs and listen. Address their needs, never yours.
2. Engage in some armchair rehearsal
Did you know that the great Laurence Olivier used to walk on stage before almost every performance and announce to the empty auditorium, “You are about to see the best show you have seen in your entire lives. And I will be delivering it. You lucky people”. Being not quite as famous as Laurence Olivier, most of us will need to say something similar to ourselves quietly before we step into a pitch. An equally useful technique is to spend a few minutes each day before a meeting visualizing ourselves in the pitch meeting looking, sounding and feeling confident. Works a charm.
3. Do the wall stand
Just before you meet your client, stand up against a wall so your body is flat against it, then walk into the room maintaining this posture. It’s amazing how it calms your nerves and centres your body (and, as a bonus, standing this way makes anyone look assured and at ease).
4. Fall in love with your client
A quick disclaimer – this tip is metaphorical, not literal! But it’s amazing how well it works. Think back to how you communicated when you were falling in love. You maintained intense eye contact for long periods of time. You looked at your lover as if she or he was the most fascinating thing in the world. Do the same with your client – look them in the eyes, be genuinely interested in them. Most people are seeking one of two things; to feel valued or to feel important. Your client is exactly the same.
5. Reframe your pitch as a chance to help your client
One of the most useful things to remember is that your clients won’t be thinking about you much at all. Like most people, clients are wrapped up in their own world and are just looking for some help or hope – this is something you can give them. Take the emphasis off yourself, and place it on making a difference to your client.
As a motivated, accomplished recruiter, what you have to offer is of exceptional value. The trick is to know it, but then to remove the focus entirely off yourself and onto your client. And the other trick? Over time, give yourself permission to have fun in pitch meeting. Pitches always represent an opportunity to help your clients tremendously. What a privilege.
To the smart, savvy women out there
If you’re interested in building your confidence and skills as speakers, I am running my Speakeasy program on June 18-19 in Adelaide. Speakeasy is a two-day workshop for a small group of women who want to communicate and pitch more confidently, effectively and authentically. Designed and facilitated by Dr Gemma Munro, the program is specifically for women who are smart, self-motivated and positive in outlook, but who believe that they do not communicate their full potential when speaking to a group.
Gemma is an accomplished public speaker herself. She is known as a highly skilled facilitator with an engaging, energetic and compassionate approach. She has presented her research nationally and internationally, and has won several prizes for her speaking. Gemma is also a long-time performer, having toured Europe, the United States and Asia as a classical and folk singer. She understands performance nerves, having experienced them first-hand, and she is deeply interested in helping others to get the fear out of the way and experience joy and success at work.
Visit www.inklingcoaching.com for testimonials from clients and participants who have worked with Gemma.