I miss having my children in my life. It was like sugar in a cup of builder’s tea, sweet and nourishing! Now they have grown up and set off on their own life I miss that sweetness. I now drink tea without sugar and I am coming to appreciate the ‘not sweetness’. I remember the sweet taste with pleasure. Some people say they gave up sugar and now cannot bear a cup of tea with sugar in it. I’m different. The last time this happened to me I really enjoyed the cup of tea. It was a precious taste of what was no more. ‘Sugar’, ‘not sugar’… same thing.
There’s a young oak by the path in the park
And every year it has green leaves
When all the other trees stand bare.
Bela Bartok stood on an island by South Ken tube
In Trilby hat and flowing overcoat
His feet were wreathed in flowers.
There’s a meditation room up steep stone spiral steps
And I have sat an hour or two just breathing quiet
The TICK TOCK of the old clock.
There’s a café in the park where walkers stop to talk
Egg and chips, a cup of tea and watch the world go passing by
The greeting dogs begin to bark
There’s a place in every heart
To take a break, to stand quite still
Sometimes in sunlight and then in dark
After 30 years in PR it seemed time to try and capture what makes a successful pitch. If you wanted to sum it up then Andy Turner of PR agency Six Sigma probably hits the nail on the head: ‘The magic ingredient? Insight blended with good ideas that really moves the needle, presented by likable people at an affordable price’.
Getting to this ideal is far from simple, so here are 25 top tips gleaned from three authoritative sources: PR Moment Some top tips on winning PR new business pitches; The Guardian Four tips for pitching a new client; and Management Today How to pitch for new business. Get a .doc copy of these 25 tips and the agency and prospect scorecard here: 25 Steps to PR Pitch Success.
- Be picky and don’t pitch for business that is not a great fit for you or your company.
- Go beyond the brief or request for information to truly understand the prospect’s agenda.
- Be clear on what the prospect expects in the pitch process and as a client.
- Build relationships and understanding by having several prospect discussions.
Follow the process
- Follow the process, don’t underestimate Procurement and take every stage seriously.
- Create a pitch team, ideally for start to finish, and allocate tasks and responsibilities.
- Make sure that your team is engaged, interested and passionate about the brief.
- Really get to know the business with insight-driven research.
- Spend more time thinking and less time on look, layout, slides and rehearsing.
- Road test ideas with the client and target audience.
- Start with client’s issues problems or goals and how they will be solved or achieved.
- Tell a compelling story that ends with you solving these problems.
- Demonstrate clear progress from insights to strategy to ideas.
- Cut out anything that is half-baked and does not drive the story forward.
- Design and deliver your pitch as theatre not just information.
- PowerPoint with care: Ask, ‘if you drive past the slide at 50 mph, will you understand it?’
- Lose the jargon and be seen as straightforward and sincere, with a no nonsense rhetoric.
- Appeal to instinctive emotional factors such as confidence, trust, hope and desire.
- Underpin emotional appeal with logical arguments to reassure client.
- Have at least two rehearsals in front of an audience, and remove/rework clunky bits.
- Research who will be in room, their real influence and dynamics between them.
- Get the human chemistry right because that is what gets you over the finish line.
- Do say ‘Are you sitting comfortably … then we’ll begin’ rather than ‘We have a 50 slide …’
- Show you ‘know your stuff’ and pitch yourself as equal who speaks the prospect’s language.
- Get the prospects talking; interaction is more engaging than being a passive audience.
What do you think? Tell me what I missed.
My empty panniers full
Of painted pigeons
I was stopping off to admire Streatham Hill Station from the road bridge above. I took this picture of people going to work.
The day before I actually took the train to work. It was a very cold morning but bright with a sky of cream porridge.
I’ve been trying to write some haiku alongside the pictures
Meeting in the church
One head and then another
Turns to watch the mouse
In the light of candles
In the night
Her gentle breathing
And far flung limbs
In the morning
A tangle of golden hair
Wrapped in a duvet
In the workshop
The craftsman frames
A still life
Walking with my friend
Our shadows side by side
In the sunshine
There’s a wind blowing
And all the stars are falling
Back to earth
(for David Bowie and Alan Rickman)
Tried some haiku this morning because I haven’t for a while and think it is a good practice.
It’s really difficult to get that special moment or as Cartier Bresson called it ‘ that decisive moment’. But I do think it can help if you can write like a photographer. By that I mean is only describe what you see. Of course as a writer you can also put down what you hear, feel, and smell; use all the senses just don’t start interrupting, explaining …
One last thought. It doesn’t have to be perfect. These aren’t. I think one is quite good. Bit of a numbers game.
Oh and seeing as I’m talking pictures I thought I’d pop one in up top for colour.
Yesterda in Haiku
Gerald the cat
In his large saucer eyes
Standing on the edge
Of a rippling pool
Waving not swimming
Flying back and forth
In the handball game
There’s a bite
To the old girl’s massage
In the cubicle
A fresh old face
After a cold swim
Taking the top seat
In the hot sauna
In the cafe clamour
The smell of burning toast
Diverts the chatter
The art of being
Sitting inside the mind
Of the home maker
A peace of Bach
And then with wine and beer
Sad songs of Rebetika
This song was based on a story told me by my swimming buddy Lee Whelan. It was recorded on my phone in the cafe at Tooting Bec Lido after a refreshing 7 lengths.