Banks and investment management companies pay a significant amount of attention to the technical skills required to excel in the increasingly competitive industry - such as credit skills and compliance.
Of course, these are fundamental areas which inherently contribute to either success or failure, but is enough attention being paid to the interpersonal skills needed to be able to pitch and present ideas clearly and impactfully?
Essentially, without effective communication both internally and when dealing with clients, bankers will be unable to showcase their ideas and recommendations.
For even the most talented of individuals, this will lead to broken down communication, a lack of confidence and ultimately fewer clients.
Perhaps even more important now that the majority of workforces around the world are communicating via digital mediums, learning to articulate facts and information in a clear and coherent manner both in-person and virtually can boost productivity and improve operations at every stage.
To ensure that you are able to both pitch and present ideas and strategies as confidently as possible, here are three useful tips that you can put into action right now.
1. Build confidence and think positively
There are so many people in senior positions at banks around the world who struggle with communication issues. In fact, according to Verywell Mind, 77% of people have some form of anxiety when it comes to public speaking.
The key is to accept that you are going to be nervous. There is absolutely no point in blocking out any feelings of anxiety before a big pitch, as suppression can actually make things worse.
In order to build confidence, you must put yourself in a positive frame of mind where you remind yourself that you are well-prepared and that you are the best person to portray this information to whomever it is you’re presenting to.
2. Communicate with impact
You may have the strongest idea or vision, but if you cannot communicate it with impact, then it is doomed to fail.
Especially in banking, whether you’re presenting personal information to a client, pitching a new strategy to a director or even hosting a weekly video call with colleagues, the need for communicating in a clear and structured manner is vital.
For an audience to take you seriously, it is important to show rather than just tell by correctly using visuals, ensure two-way communication, be passionate and authentic and have the confidence to take advantage of impromptu speaking opportunities.
3. Challenge your own strengths and weaknesses
Even the most confident of public speakers and presenters will have weaknesses in their presentations, as pleasing everyone is a near-impossible task - and this is completely normal.
When practising and even delivering presentations, taking the time to scrutinise what you do well and what you can improve on is an effective way to build better ways to select, structure and deliver material to a range of people.
In the banking sector particularly, a speech can be based on entirely different areas and delivered to vastly different people on a regular basis, so continually reviewing your own performance can help you to provide more powerful presentations.
Pitching and presenting in the virtual age
We were already beginning to see a seismic shift in how meetings and presentations are held before the coronavirus pandemic struck. With significant improvements made to video conferencing software in recent years, more and more conferences are being conducted virtually.
With this being said, face-to-face meetings were still an integral part of conducting business, especially in the banking sector, where individuals would travel around the world to meet clients and business partners.
Now that coronavirus has limited travel opportunities to virtually zero; banks have been forced to adapt their approaches, thus increasing the number of online meetings even further.
In fact, with businesses changing their processes, we may say a permanent change in operations. Back in April, Barclays Group Chief Executive Jes Staley announced that having bank workers in big, expensive city offices "may be a thing of the past".
The skills required for presenting virtually differ from in-person, especially for older employees who will only have experienced physical pitching for the majority of their careers.
If the new 'normal' is logging into Zoom rather than flying to another country for an important presentation, then banks need to spend time developing skills related to pitching virtually in order to remain competitive.
MDA Training’s approach to pitching and presenting in the banking sector
We offer a unique approach to developing interpersonal skills in the banking sector, with virtual learning programmes to build communication skills both in-person and virtually as well as helping employees to perform at their best.
Our training solutions can be delivered virtually via Zoom or WebEx, and are designed to focus on:
- Effective personal impact
- Communicating with impact
- Being at your best
- Handling difficult conversations
- Coaching and mentoring.
In addition, we provide modules directly related to pitching and presenting, client service skills, influencing and negotiating and more. For more information, please visit our interpersonal skills training for banking section here.