A False Alarm that Cooled the Hot Seat
We were just plotting our strategic seating chart and performing other pre-pitch duties: decks in order, clicker working, coffee mugs in place when the potential clients walked into the conference room to the sound of a blaring fire-drill alarm.
First time for everything, I guess. So we marched out toward the exits with the communications team and c-suite and everyone else from the company, walking through all the non-public rooms until we were told to turn back (sorry, authorities, never made it outside).
With no emergency in sight, we proceeded with our presentation but only after spending a good five minutes literally rubbing elbows with our hosts. So the meeting went from fire drill to hallway jokes to casual conversation to an eventual pitch and—fingers crossed—what we thought was a productive and fairly relaxed pitch.
Lesson learned? Figure out your fire drill for your next new-business presentation. Make sure you can present some excitement in the beginning that allows you to get to know your audience and they get to know you. Or, in this case, warm up the room but maybe not to the level of a fire drill.