Strevas recently presented a two-day pitch training programme for approximately 30 senior associates and counsel at one of the world’s largest law firms. Delivered completely online via Zoom, the programme not only addressed the specific challenges and opportunities for pitching virtually, but also demonstrated the far-reaching capabilities of web-based learning.
The current climate and hybrid working presents unique challenges for law firms trying to build relationships with clients, especially when given the golden opportunity to pitch as a team for new work. Our programme provided skills-building around key areas, with an emphasis on “standing out” when meeting virtually, including:
- Using a pre-pitch client call to best effect
- Demonstrating effective teamwork, both verbally and nonverbally
- Having a client-focused conversation by asking the right questions and demonstrating listening
- Handling curveball questions and pushbacks
- Bringing differentiators to life through impactful storytelling
Participants were divided into pitch teams and provided with a realistic pitch scenario to prepare and deliver together. Strevas facilitators (all of us former lawyers as well as actors) played the clients. After rotating through a series of workshops on the key topics, each pitch team conducted a pre-pitch client call, strategised their pitch approach and conducted a virtual pitch session with a client team. They were then provided with detailed feedback from the Strevas facilitators.
Going forward post-pandemic, virtual pitching is here to stay, especially as law firms and clients seek to save time, minimise travel and reduce their carbon footprints. Zoom, Teams and other web-based platforms offer ever-improving experiences for group conversations and presentations. In order to truly stand out from the pack, lawyers will need to adapt to these platforms in a way that enables them to build rapport, demonstrate teamwork and articulate their value.
Prior to the pandemic, this same pitch training programme was regularly delivered in person. While there were some challenges in adapting it to an “all virtual” programme via Zoom, it was a remarkably smooth transition that demonstrated some advantages of web-based learning:
- Participants from nearly 20 countries were able to participate in the programme from their own homes or offices.
- The Strevas team was able to share short films, slides and polls, as well as a live conversation demonstration in the form of a pitch meeting, to keep the programme interactive and engaging.
- Participants were able to move seamlessly through various virtual breakout rooms in small groups to participate in workshops, conduct their pre-pitch client calls, prepare their pitches and deliver their presentations to the clients. The firm also offered additional value-added learning on cross selling and business development resources throughout the programme.
- With the push of a button, facilitators were able to record the final pitch meetings so participants could view the recording themselves and reflect on the feedback.
Face-to-face learning will always have an advantage for building deeper relationships among colleagues, especially across multiple offices. But the past 24 months or so have been a pioneering period for virtual learning that has demonstrated its potential as a cost-effective, practical and engaging option in the post-pandemic world.