• In the midst of the modern technological revolution, television has provided another illustration of how powerful face to face presentation is. Television has excited us about the pitch again. Now it’s not just something ad agencies do; pitching is a basic unit of currency whenever we are trying to sell anything be it idea, product, service or vision of the future. In our new digital and connected world, television is an old media, but it is an extraordinary instrument that has shown us all the power of presenting to potential investors. And once we become viewers rather than participants it’s all too easy to see that the quality of the idea is much less important than the quality and charisma of the presentation.

    It’s great that TV has become interested in business and entrepreneurs and it’s great that the wider public is increasingly seeing entrepreneurs as powerful tools for change and forces for good. Some of this is partly because TV captures the drama of the pitch, business challenge or boardroom and partly because the entrepreneurs’ personalities and passions shine through. We’re rooting for them and for us to root for someone they have to have charisma.

    Whilst all this is great – entrepreneurs should be seen as heroes - screens don’t capture the nuances or subtleties of an actual meeting and all the evidence from marketers and business people is that we instinctively and empirically know that face to face works best. We want to get that meeting. We want to get “in front” of a client. The entrepreneurs want to present their idea face to face not through the distortion of a screen.

    But it’s not an “either or”. The best real-life networkers frequently have huge numbers of online connections and regularly share their real-life experiences online. If you’re well-turned out and charming in real life then your website and online profiles should be well-turned out and charming as well. Live plus digital is a very powerful cocktail. The basics of good business practice in the real world prevail in cyber space too. At their best the two work in tandem.

    It’s perhaps the notion of shared experiences which is the most exciting way in which social media seamlessly entwines with real world events. Experiences now extend way beyond the physical walls that confine an event. Football matches, royal weddings, talent shows and political rallies are now amplified and commented upon by millions via social media. We’re all journalists, we’re all broadcasters and we’re all media owners; and in the constant quest for compelling content, events and experiences are a powerful source of subject matter.

    But great content isn’t enough; great content needs powerful presentation, engaging story-telling and charismatic personality. If you’re business is entirely “tech” and you’re operating purely in a world of data then you might be able to avoid the need to connect and engage, but for most of us the ability to tell your story and make people want to listen is what sets us apart. In a world with information overload only the brightest, most appealing information stands a chance of being seen or heard. Learning how to tell your story can be the most powerful tool you have. This is truly the era of the elevator pitch and you need to make sure that your pitch doesn’t require a very tall building and a very slow elevator.

    An extract from my chapter in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards Handbook. Available for free download from Amazon.