A few years ago, I was on a team presenting a response to a request for proposal (RFP). As I replay the presentation in my mind, I realize that there are many things I would have done differently; like trying not to peek at my slides and animations before I began talking. My biggest pet peeve is not being able to hear a presenter because they are soft spoken.
I’ve compiled a list of best practices when presenting a response to proposal, beginning with being prepared.
Make sure your team triple checks all facts, grammar, and punctuation in your presentation.
Get all of the key points of your presentation down prior to presenting.
Rehearse your presentation until it flows effortlessly, but don’t follow a word for word script.
Your team should appear cohesive during the presentation, even if they are not the team that will be working on the project together. A team that works well together during a presentation, will not leave your audience with doubt about your project management skills.
Ask who will be attending the presentation, and be sure to include all of your teams influential members (e.g. if you are presenting a pitch for eLearning, then bring the instructional designer that would be assigned to the project).
Inquire about the room the presentation will take place in for technical specifications etc.; bring additional adapters for your computers in case the room is not compatible with your equipment.
Do not just provide one option as a solution, but if you do make sure you stand by that one option. Providing 2-3 options of equal value shows you are committed and have thoroughly thought through the RFP.
Give outside of the box creative ideas.
REALLY give outside of the box creative ideas (I had to mention giving out of the box ideas twice because that is often criteria in an RFP).
Of course nothing under be professional needs to be addressed, but just incase…
Treat everyone with respect at the company you are presenting to.
Give other teams space (I remember horror stories from my managing multimedia productions class – teams were spying on their competitors and stealing ideas).
Your audience wants to believe your solution is the best! Act like your solution is the best thing since sliced bread.
Pay attention to your audience’s reactions.
And if you are very excited, remember the following: stay focused, lose the um’s and uh’s, speak up, speak clearly, and keep eye contact.
What irks you when teams present an RFP response? What have you done during a RFP presentation that you wish you didn’t do?