Recommended Reads | By Leah Collins | Read time minutes
Pitching your project to potential customers or investors inevitably comes with mixed feelings. You're excited you got the chance to sell your business, but the endless thoughts on whether you'll nail your pitch are also nerve wrecking. Still, with proper preparation, you're set to make a good impression. Pitching to an international audience, however, is a different story.
Besides worrying about your confidence and the other nitty-gritties that come with pitching, you must think about possible cultural and language differences. Factor these two aspects into every aspect of your pitch, and you'll exponentially raise the odds of success.
Here are 5 helpful tips for creating and delivering successful project pitches to international companies.
1. Know How to Structure Your Pitch
The success of your pitch depends a good deal on its structure, and that should be shaped based on your audience. In an international pitch, that means culture is a significant consideration.
Cultures ultimately differ in so, so many ways, approaches to persuasion included. In your own culture, pitches with the main idea and recommendations first, while the reasons and support come later are probably well-received by audiences. Such acceptance of that framing is not always the case for other cultures, however. Japanese culture, for instance, prefers hearing the background information first before hearing about the what and the how.
Before adopting a structure for your own pitch, ensure you understand your audience's preferred approach. You're likely to make a much better impression if you deliver your pitch in the approach that works best for your audience.
2. Consider Translation
When dealing with international companies, language barriers are something you not only need to anticipate but also prepare for in advance. Doing so will greatly benefit your pitch – you're much more likely to successfully pitch your project if your audience understands what you're saying. Translating your pitch into the language of the audience can therefore be a worthwhile investment. However, keep in mind that not every word translates to the exact meaning in the target language.
For that reason, even if you understand the target language, working with a professional translation services provider can be beneficial. For instance, Houston translation services offered by US Translation are known for efficiency. Professional translators understand the cultural nuances of your target audience and will therefore know how to translate your pitch in a way that isn't offensive to your audience. Plus , you can trust professionals to match your original pitch in terms of effectiveness and presentation.
3. Be Careful with The Visuals
Whatever you do regarding language, you must still take your time when thinking of the images, colours and text you'll use in every slide of your pitch deck. For starters, colours depict different meanings to different cultures. A certain colour could, for instance, mean celebration to one culture and mean danger or passion to another. Likewise, some images are not acceptable to some cultures. If you're thinking of including funny photos, research first how the people you're pitching might perceive such images and even the nature of the humour.
In addition, when it comes to how busy your pitch slides should look, ask yourself how much is too much. Using less might seem inadequate or like you didn't put in enough effort to some, while minimalistic visuals might be viewed favourably by others for various reasons.
4. Mind Your Nonverbal Language
Even after you've prepared a pitch in a way that works best for your intended audience, the nonverbal aspects of presenting your pitch also matter – a lot. Specifically, how you communicate nonverbally could differ from your audience's cultural beliefs.
For instance, many people are fond of using hand gestures when speaking to enhance their verbal communication. Whether that's effective, however, depends on the culture of your audience. Hand gestures may be acceptable in the United States and the UK, for instance. But when dealing with a Japanese audience, hand gesturing can be perceived as rude or distracting.
Eye contact is another area where caution is warranted. In some cultures, some level of eye contact shows confidence or a way to build trust. However, that same level of eye contact can seem aggressive in other cultures (e.g.., in Korea and Germany).
5. Pace Yourself Mindfully
Even when you get everything else right with your pitch structure and content, time is also very precious when presenting any pitch. You want to make the most of the few minutes you're given to deliver your pitch so that you never leave out any relevant information. At the same time, however, when pitching to international companies, you might need to slow down a bit. If you're pitching to people who speak a different language, speak slowly and clearly.
In addition, improve how you pronounce words and emphasise your lip movement on important keywords. You also want to give your audience time to understand what you're saying. In this case, pausing frequently can ensure an effective delivery of your pitch.
While understanding your audience will always be vital to the success of any pitch, that understanding becomes paramount when dealing with an international audience. The only way you'll know what matters to an international audience – as well as how their culture compares to your own – is to understand the audience. Keep structure, translation, visuals, nonverbal language, and pace as key aspects to consider when seeking to understand how to best pitch an international audience.
By applying the 5 tips above, you can prepare your pitch in a way that increases its chances success thanks to being favourably received by any international audience.
What other tips do you have about how to successfully pitch a project to an international company? We'd love to hear about them in the forum!
Leah Collins is a business development manager who appreciates exploring her career. Collins enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music when not working.
Recommended read: Getting to Project Approval, by Kenneth Darter.