Have you ever thought about when you go to pitch whether it’s right to sit like this or should we stand?
If you’re seated like this things feel pretty comfortable, you walk into the room with your prospective clients, you sit down opposite them, you’re at their eye level and things feel easy, things feel natural and of course we want that in a pitch.
The downside of sitting down is because it feels informal it takes on the spirit of a normal meeting or a conversation which means our audience can interject and interrupt us when we’re pitching and we don’t really want that.
Advantages of Standing
If we stand we have a number of advantages: to begin with we can speak more loudly because we’re stood up we’re not crouched over and people are likely to hear us because we can project more as our diaphragms, our chests can expand fully. We can also find it easier to use visual display units like this when we’re stood up and when we’re stood it’s much easier to use body language to express our feelings about what we’re talking about.
To emphasise our pitch we can move from one side of the room to the other side and then back again. I can use that to stress three points, one point here, one point there, another point when I come back here but, that’s not the real reason we should always stand when we pitch.
The real reason we should always stand when we pitch is the formality it conveys. Think about all the times you were at school, at university and college, at talks, you know when the speaker stands up it’s time to be quiet and when the speaker sits down it’s okay to talk again.
It means you’re giving the floor to the speaker for that period of time and the audience is a lot less likely to interject and interrupt.
If you’re stood up talking it also suggests that your pitch deserves some respect, in other words it is a serious opportunity and that is conveyed by standing-up. If we sat down it’s all too easy to fold into a normal conversation meeting style pitch that’s not what we want.
Now I understand this can be tricky. I have often gone into meetings and felt like just sitting there and not standing to pitch and the times that I have sat down and pitched across a table I’ve always regretted it because I know it would have been far better had I stood up. Yes it means the audience needs to shuffle around and suddenly all focus is on you but, believe me that initial discomfort will subside and they’ll buy into you more if you stand because you’re making a formal pitch and you are giving your pitch and yourself the respect that you deserve.
Always stand when you pitch unless, you’re sat in a cafe because you walked into a room and got told it was booked so you had to go down into a cafe and do a pitch in there. Don’t be stupid, don’t stand up in the middle of Starbucks and start pitching, sit down, be a bit clever, use your common sense and only stands a pitch wherever appropriate.