You’ve worked for weeks, months and maybe even years on researching, planning and articulating your bid. You’ve created the best collateral, ensuring that your visual aids and handouts reinforce your proposition and present your information in an appealing way. You’ve gathered your brightest minds, carefully selecting who will present your bid on pitch day, being sure to play to your team members’ strengths. What more could you possibly prepare to make sure your bid runs smoothly?
Yet presentation day is no time for complacency, and there are always ways you can improve your presentation technique, style or approach. Here are three tips to help make your presentation the best it can be so you can secure that all-important contract.
1. FRAME YOURSELF AS A STORY TELLER
According to Minda Zetlin, a business technology writer for Inc.com and The Enterprisers Project, ‘better storytelling skills can take your presentations to the next level.’ Zetlin argues that ‘many people struggle to incorporate storytelling into presentations in a way that both seems natural and has the desired effect.’
Quoting presentation and sales trainer Tim Wackel as saying ‘children don’t say, “Mommy, put me to bed and read me some data,”’ Zetlin believes storytelling is an underutilised skill that should be applied to audiences across all ages and environments. Your bid pitch is no different given the importance of engaging your audience, ensuring they connect with your presentation team and retain the information you pitch to them.
Some tips that Zetlin and Wackel give for becoming a great storyteller include ‘focusing on what the audience needs to hear, not necessarily what you want to tell.’ Although personal stories can be useful in some contexts, they often only captivate an audience for short periods of time and can create an unhealthy impression of self-absorption. Another important tip is to rehearse your story, whether that’s on video or in front of colleagues who can give you feedback and help to shape the final version, as this allows you to be confident in the power of your story.
2. ANTICIPATE OBJECTIONS AND INTERRUPTIONS
Planning ahead for potential objections, interruptions and curveball comments is extremely important when it comes to preparing your presentation. No matter how many times you practice, if you do not factor these disruptions into your planning it is likely that you will be thrown off track or distracted when such incidents arise.
According to Grant Cardone, serial CEO, prolific author and contributor at Entrepreneur.com, you are going to get objections like “I don’t need to see this” or “I already know all about this” when making a presentation, but you shouldn’t shortcut on your presentation because this is where you build value. Cardone stresses the importance of displaying confidence in your demonstration and conviction, as these non-verbal actions will leave a lasting impression on your audience. Since 93% of communication is non-verbal, remaining calm, collected and committed to what you are saying in the face of distractions will help you to leave an impression of professionalism on your audience.
3. LEAD THE QUESTIONS YOU WANT TO BE ASKED
Although the questions your audience will ask is one aspect of presentations that is difficult to plan for, it is a good idea to run a number of scenarios during preparation to ensure you are equipped to answer under pressure. Equally important is considering what questions you want the audience to ask. With some clever steering and signposting you can ensure you are asked the questions you want to answer, giving you the opportunity to reinforce key points or provide further evidence of your organisation’s suitability for the role.
Marketing Land points out that while some clients are forthcoming and vocal with their questions, others are less willing to do so. In this instance, directing the conversation yourself is a good way to maintain control over the pace and direction of the pitch. Openers like ‘what is your interpretation of the data?’ or even simply asking ‘do you have any questions so far’ will encourage engagement and also gain you insightful feedback which you can use to gauge how your pitch is being received, and where you might need to do additional explaining or convincing.
By using these tips to boost the quality and style of your presentation, you can ensure that you pitch your bid in a winning manner. If you need more tips on how to present your bid, follow the links below to see how think can help.
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