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How To Pitch Your Project To Publishers
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How To Pitch Your Project To Publishers

November 10, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

Public Speaking Skills are important. Most people hate public speaking, and it's something many of us in the industry are not trained in at all. So, unless you want to hire a professional actor to broadcast your message (and Jerry Lambert's busy at the moment), why not brush up on your skills at your local Toastmasters? It's a non-profit organization with chapters all around the world devoted to helping people become more confident public speakers and presenters. The skills you develop here will help you talk to your team during development, too.

Body Language. How your present yourself is just as important as what you're presenting. There's plenty of books in your local library (and many more articles about it for free on Google Books) that cover the subject, and you'll be well advised to read at least one.

Here's a primer: Don't cross your arms, maintain eye contact with who you're speaking to (if there are lots of people in the room you're addressing, change who you're looking at regularly), and if possible show your hands to indicate openness and trust.

Matching the behavior of the people you're speaking to (i.e. laughing when they laugh, talking at their volume level, assuming their posture) is also a time-honored tactic, as it lowers the defenses of your subject.

After the Pitch

After what must have felt like an hour, you've finally stopped showing off your game. Before you run out of the room and head towards the nearest bar, you'll need to stick around and see what questions they have for you. Here's what stands between you and the post-meeting beer.

Improvisational Skills. Or, to be less eloquent but more accurate -- learn how to BS on your feet. You should never lie, of course. However, it's a great skill to have an answer to something, no matter the question. One of the first skills media advisers instruct politicians is to just answer the question you wanted to hear, not necessarily the one they actually asked.

For example, if you're asked what the target demographic will be for the game is, and you don't want to narrow it down yet, explain that you make games that are open for any audience and you'll welcome publisher input on this matter. That's prevented you from defining the target audience and thrown the problem over to the publisher in one sentence.

If you don't know the answer to a question that's completely out of your department, talk about how you have people on your team back home that can answer it, and you will get back to them. The key isn't correctly responding to the question, it's assuring the publisher that you have the resources to find the right answer. For tips on how this works, watch a press conference on C-SPAN to witness the skill of answering questions on your own terms.

Provide support material. It's best practice to leave behind something the people you're talking to can show their teams or upper management and encourage more support. Have a copy of the trailer you've prepared on a USB device, DVD or similar for them to watch again later. Print and professionally bind a copy or two of the pitch document for them to read in more detail.

You'd be amazed how much further printed material goes in terms of information and retention and getting noticed -- the document is always there on the publisher's desk, not invisible in a pile of email. Also be prepared to follow your pitch up quickly with scheduling and cost proposals to help them make their decision.

Establish timeline for follow up. Of course, all of this work amounts to naught if you don't get any result out of it. Make sure you discuss when it would be suitable to contact the publisher again to discuss if the project will be greenlit and that both parties stick to that timeline. After all, you have a team back home that need to know if they're about to start work on a new project, or prepare the hot oil for your return.

Good luck! After all of this you're still at the mercy of publisher management shakeups, the fickle tastes of the target audience changing completely, and competition from development teams in Southeast Asia that will do everything you're promising for half the price. Oh, and the daunting task of actually making good on all your wild promises...

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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