Skip asked me to reflect on my experience on making effective and winning presentations. In my first career as the Founder and President of Pray Construction Company, we procured a fair amount of work that involved either a formal presentation to a selection committee or to an important decision-maker. In that industry and I imagine most industries, work procured through negotiations was beneficial to the organization…i.e. it was more profitable and less contentious. If you allowed the market to make you into a commodity….i.e. to make the selection process all about being the low bidder…then all of the value added components of your offering were left unappreciated and unrewarded.
Here are some of the guidelines we utilized when preparing a presentation.
1) Probe…probe…probe. In other words, understand not only what was written in the solicitation but find out what was REALLY important to the owner. Money is always on the table…but so are time, your team’s experience, other owner’s experience with you and your team, value added ideas, and what problems had the owner experienced in the past. Really try and understand what is important to them.
2) Who’s on the committee? What is their experience? What’s important to them?
3) We made an attempt to do a physiological profile of the selectors. Did they want simple choices and want you to drop down to the bottom line quickly….(A “D” personality using the DICS profile)….was the relationship important…as in a strong people person…( The “I”…easy to pick out…give them a big smile and they will almost always give you a big smile back)…..or were the details important (this is the “C” …and so we always were sure to introduce the “C”’s to our engineers)…or was past dependable experience the issue…(The “S”). So, for sure, we couldn't ask the selection committee to take a test but we were sure to try and have a little bit of everything for all the types.
4) And now the killer…Rehearse…Rehearse…Rehearse. This does so many things. If you are using multi media…it shakes that all out. It is very effective in getting the bugs out. I also really like to present. That is not typical. Many people just hate it and rehearsal can provide a lot of reassurance to presenters that are inclined towards stage fright. In front of a mock audience, you can also figure out what might need more work.
5) Stay within the time limit. If the selector group is full of D types, you will win if you finish early and lose if you go 30 minutes over.
6) Know your material or bring the people with you who do….But be careful with that. I’ve had some team members that just should never present. They don’t have it. If you must bring them…rehearse them to death…as in…..say as little as possible.
7) Lastly, make the presentation about them (the owner/buyer) Please…don’t wee wee on the committee. It’s their project and that is what is important. Never forget that.
At PrayWorks, I market and sell a service known as owner’s representation.
I can help owners put together effective project delivery teams and help an owner with the evaluation process. Learn more about my services at www.prayworks.com
and follow my musings on my BLOG at http://209capitolstreet.blogspot.com/
. And of course there is always Twitter…follow davidpray.
Thanks for reading!