Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Presentation Process
Landing a job is almost always in the success of the presentation. The success of the presentation depends on what the presenter knows and doesn’t know. Unfortunately, there are too many companies that will make the same mistakes over and over again, and not understand why they don’t land the jobs and contracts that they are so eager to land.
All too often, those with the best concepts, get left behind; while those that know the art of making the presentation, make the final cut.
The following are five of the most common pitfalls of the presentation process and how to avoid them.
Veering Off Topic
A company looking for your business provides you with a request for proposal (RFP) for a reason. Stay on topic! Abide by the requests that the company makes! While you may have some other ideas that could better the proposal and really make the contract more successful, your presentation is not the time to showcase those. Always follow the requirements laid out in the RFP. Failure to do so could seriously rule out the opportunity of a lifetime.
“Improving” the Budget
In most cases, a Procurement Division has had a look at the RFP and given their input. They have a bottom-line price and it is your job to respect that. After the contract has been secured, you can take your chances at improving a part of the budget in a way that you see fit. However, during the presentation, the company will adhere very closely to what the procurement is. If you are trying to up-sell during the presentation, they will more than likely turn you down. Help them feel secure with your ideas to stay on budget!
If you feel like one or more of your ideas aren’t quite up to par, don’t include them in the presentation! The goal isn’t to provide the most ideas or concepts, but rather the best. Keep your ideas and concepts to a 2-3 maximum. Make sure they are your absolute best ideas and that they are in line with the RFP. Overcompensating will overwhelm the company you are presenting to. They will have too many ideas in their minds, and may not remember your best. As with many things in life, landing the job is in quality, not quantity.
Taking Too Long
It is extremely important that you stay within the time slot provided for your presentation. The company you are presenting to is busy. They have other things to do and other presentations to listen to. Staying within your allotted amount of time will show that you respect their boundaries and that you are committed to efficiency. Don’t say things like, “I know this is long, but it’s going to be worth it.” It is their job to decide what is worth it and what is not. It is your job to be respectful of their time.
Doing All the Talking
Always, always leave time for your audience to ask questions. In many cases, your products or services will not be won over by the presentation itself, but by the conversation that happens afterwards. Meaningful discussion is the key to ensuring that the company you’re presenting to will truly understand what your intentions are. They can come to a better understanding of what you are offering them. In addition, it will show that you are committed to personal relationships and an emotional connection, rather than just getting paid at the end of the day.
By avoiding these five pitfalls, you will find yourself securing more contracts and winning more bids. Whether this is your first presentation or your hundred and first, good luck!