Unless your pitch is a Hollywood blockbuster, you’re losing business

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Remember the last pitch you sat through, sneakily scrolling through your smartphone? Or the last pitch you gave, where your audience (the very people you were trying to impress) sat sneakily scrolling through their smartphone?

Mind-numbing presentations are a major cause for concern in the marketing and advertising world – even more so if you’re using them to try and secure a contract or new deal. Busy professionals have minimal time (and bandwidth for anything boring), so you’ve got to be able to get your message across quickly and succinctly to have the right impact and influence.

The issue is that most of us spout out facts and stats, data and research, usually overloaded or hidden amongst bullet points, reams of text and marketing jargon.

All this does is create unnatural, overcomplicated messages and solutions that turns our audience – the very people we want to connect with – completely off. So to really engage your audience, to sell or win new business, then you’ve got to take the lead from Hollywood.

Think of the last good movie you watched. It likely had bright images, a compelling script, music, rhythm and heroic characters. All these elements came together and made you feel something – excited, sad, angry, maybe even apathy. Storytelling is our most powerful form of communication ever invented. Whether it’s the latest Hollywood blockbuster, or a recent innovative pitch.

Stories help us feel something towards the person telling the story, i.e. the presenter (that’s you), which helps create connection, credibility and trust – an absolute essential if you want to get ahead in today’s competitive landscape.

We can no longer hide behind jargon, blanket statements or even our screens. What the world needs today, what your customers, clients and stakeholders are crying out for is H2H – from human to human, a natural connection through compelling visuals and emotional stories.

We need to share stories, to share the emotional journey, the ups and the downs, with our audience, otherwise they think we are hiding something.

Sell emotion, not logic

Unfortunately, in business, we’ve been taught that emotion is inappropriate. We’ve been told that problem-solving and decision making should rely on our logic and analysis. This simply isn’t true. It has long been noted that rational decision making is largely a myth. This is because up to 90% of the thousands of decisions we make each day fall beneath our level of awareness and are reinforced through our feelings and emotions.

In fact, studies have shown that 74% of participants have changed their decision after their emotion was changed. Though the logic is important, we make up our minds based on how we feel about something, not because the data says it’s a good idea.

Any time you present or pitch, it is your opportunity to influence the way those in the room think and act. So you’ve got to make them want to do something other than run or sleep. Should they feel angry and compelled to act now? Or excited about your new vision or idea?

Choose images, photos, video, and even colours, that match that mood, so what you’re saying and showing becomes not only memorable, but meaningful as well.

This is your chance to share not just your point of view, but also your passion for your subject.

As a marketer or advertiser, it’s your responsibility to master this art of storytelling, of connecting and engaging your audience, so you’ll have everyone on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Emma Bannister is the founder and CEO of

Presentation Studio.