Top Ten Tips – Delivering your presentation

This presentation is important, that’s why you are delivering it to this audience today.

Make sure you follow these tips to make sure that everything goes as well as you want it to.

  1. Check all equipment – in advance. Whenever you plan to use any electronic equipment make sure it works in the venue well in advance.
  2. Speak to your audience. Keep your focus on them, not the next slide or your notes. When you focus on them they are encouraged to focus on you.
  3. Never read the slides. The audience can read too, and you reading what is on a slide is very insulting to them, let alone being deadly boring for them to have to listen to.
  4. Avoid jargon. Using industry buzz words makes you sound pompous and will alienate anyone who does not understand them. Keep them off your slides and out of your words.
  5. No humour. Leave tell jokes to comedians, unless you are very good at it. This is a business presentation and in these circumstances humour is not appropriate.
  6. Use relevant visuals. Don’t put slides in just for their own sake they will distract your audience from focusing on you. Never skip back and forth within the deck of visuals, this makes you look wholly unprofessional.
  7. Keep to time. Make sure the audience knows how long you will take and then take slightly less time. If it’s a long presentation, or one with several presenters each one should say how long their section will take.
  8. Non-verbal communication. This is a critical and often over-looked area so be aware of your body language. the simplest way to do this is to be filmed during rehearsals so you can see how you stand, your tone, pitch and the volume of your voice etc.
  9. Prepare for the Q&A. Make sure you (and your team) have pre-planned answers for the questions which you anticipate getting. If it’s an open forum take 2-3 questions with you and explain that you were sent these in advance.
  10. Handouts. If there is data that you want the audience to have provide it in a separate document and distribute these after the presentation. Any slides should not on their own provide enough detail on their own for the audience as a résumé of the presentation.

Contact us on 01963 240555 or win@thebidcoach.com

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Top Ten Tips – Preparation for a Presentation

ImageWhen preparing for a presentation there are some golden rules that you can follow to make your presentation more interesting, therefore more memorable and thus make you seem all the more professional to your audience.

Presenting business topics can be potentially difficult to make interesting, but follow the tips below and you give yourself every opportunity to get and hold your audience’s attention, so they retain your messages and enjoy your presentation all the more

  1. Begin with something thought-provoking. Offer up a surprising insight into the subject, or adopt a new position on the subject just to make the audience think.
  2. Minimise your intro. They don’t need or want to know everything about you, or your firm, or why you are the speaker – this will just bore them. Have an introduction which is one or two sentences long at most.
  3. Short and sweet. Remember how many presentations you’ve had to endure that just went on and on, well make sure you don’t fall into the same trap – make it half as long as you originally thought it should be.
  4. Facts are friendly. Avoid generalities as they suggest your thinking is also “fluffy”. Make your case a mixture of factual evidences and proofs that show your ability. Stories that highlight your experience in specific circumstances can be memorable and dramatic.
  5. Be relevant. Your audience will only pay attention to stories, ideas and facts which are immediately relevant.
  6. Use straightforward backgrounds. When you use slides or other visual aides keep them simple so they don’t distract or confuse the audience.
  7. Use large, easy to read fonts. Make it easy for the audience to read the slides, to understand the messages. Avoid bold, italics and ALL-CAPS
  8. Keep graphics simple. Overcomplicated graphics, drawings or tables turn people off. Keep them simple and highlight the specific areas you want the audience to focus on.
  9. Less is more. You want the audience to remember your message so stick to the really key messages which you want them to take in. Repeat these several times to increase their retention levels.
  10. Build your story. Presentations can be boring when they only contain facts with little or no context. Setting them within a story provides this and makes the facts more memorable.

Contact us today on 01963 240555 or win@thebidcoach.com

Top Tips – Handling the question & answer session effectively

Question and answer sessions can take on a momentum of their own, if you are not able to manage them well. For certain once the audience spots a weakness they are very likely to exploit it – which just multiples the degree of discomfort for you.

To avoid this ever happening to you always adhere to these rules.

  1. Prepare answers. Based on what you know of the audience, their existing knowledge, roles and responsibilities and the material you have presented anticipate which topics will attract questions.
  2. Listen (really listen). Make sure you really understand the question before attempting to answer.
  3. Seek clarification. Check you understand the question correctly before starting your answer.
  4. Think. Before you speak make sure you know what you plan to say
  5. Be brief. Do not over answer the question as this often leads you into areas you would rather avoid and anyway the audience probably doesn’t want too much detail.
  6. Check. Get confirmation from the questioner that you have answered their question.
  7. Be honest. If you don’t know the answer, say so. BUT do commit to get back to them within a reasonable timescale – and make sure that you do!

Be very aware of your body language when answering questions and make sure that you retain a positive stance, manner, voice and eye contact with your audience through-out. Doing so will add considerable credibility to your answers. Even after the session is over be aware that while the audience can see you they are receiving non-verbal communications from you.

Having a bad day?

Poor workmen blame their tools!

Visual aides are there to support you, the presenter, not something to hide behind, so make sure that yours do just that!

PowerPoint is the most commonly used tool, and whilst it gets a lot of bad press “death by PowerPoint” this says more about the how presenters use it not the tool itself.

There are many things that you can do to make PowerPoint work for you, some of the more obvious ones are:

Don’t use bullets – they are dull. If you do use them do NOT read them out – this is an insult to the audience – they don’t need you if they can just read everything from the screen!

Keep slides plain – backgrounds that are too fussy will distract the audience. If you want to use a coloured background, chose pastel colours, something that compliments the subject – if you are talking finance don’t go with bright pink for example.

Contrast background – to the text and make sure that both are suitable for the lighting in the room where the presentation is to be delivered.

Use clear fonts – make them large enough to be read – from the back of the auditorium

Slide transitions – Keep these simple. Do not use animation to “fly in” or the like, have the text / visuals come up either all at the same time, or on your click – whichever suits best

Minimum number of slides – Too many slides and the audience will be focused on them and not you. Only use slides to add extra value to what you are saying, they support you, not the other way round.

Do not keep turning around to look at the slides – the audience does not want to see the back of your head. If you want to know what’s on the screen place a pc in front of you – whatever you see there is what the audience can see. You can half turn to point to something on the slide, but do so as infrequently as possible and always face the front when speaking

The Bid Coach are experts in training your teams to win.

Contact Hugh at: via www.thebidcoach.com or win@thebidcoach.com

or ring (01963) 240555

It’s the way you tell-em!

People will remember more about how you said something than the actual words that you spoke so it is crucial that your delivery is the best it can be. Once again there are techniques that you can use to increase the focus of the audience and thus increase how much of what you say they remember.

By this stage if you’ve done everything above you should be quietly confident that you know what you’re going to be talking about which gives you confidence and so you can relax and enjoy the experience. I accept that “enjoy” may not be the first thought in your mind, but if you can convince yourself that you might enjoy the experience then the likelihood is that you will.

The brain sees things like this as a self-fulfilling prophecy, and whatever you think will be the outcome is more than likely how it will turn out – so tell yourself you ARE going to enjoy it as you’ve worked very hard to prepare thoroughly.

Remember, you are going to tell them something that it is in their interest to hear, and that they will benefit from your presentation.

The audience wants you to succeed, for them there is nothing worse than listening to a presenter die on their feet – it’s embarrassing. They would rather you succeed; it makes their life so much easier!

The single most important thing to be is enthusiastic – how can you expect to carry an audience with you if you are not displaying energy and passion for the subject. This doesn’t mean you have to try to become something you’re not, because the audience will see you as phoney if you do. It means taking your natural style, and adding authority and presence through your tone and manner (body language).

The trick is to engage with the audience early – in the first 60 seconds preferably – get them on your side and keep them there. This is where your pithy (what’s in it for you statement / comment / challenge) comes in. It must be something that captures their imagination, is credible and offers them hope.

Another part of engaging with them is to remove barriers – get out from behind the lectern or desk. This means you can move around more, which in turn means you can have more eye contact, use body language to greatest effect and make it easier for the audience to focus on you. Your slides or props are just that – there to support you, not the other way around.

When speaking to a massed audience it is very important to use you voice carefully. You need to make sure that your voice can be heard at the back of the auditorium (sound gets muffled when a room is full of people).

Equally you need to talk more slowly than you would in everyday speech. This is to allow people time to absorb and think about what you have said.

Use pauses often. They allow people to absorb what you’ve said. Pause after saying anything especially important – this not only allows the audience time to absorb and consider what you’ve said but the pause itself tells them that what you just said is something they should pay particular attention to – and they will – if you give them the opportunity. Whilst paused make strong eye contact with as many people as possible – let them acknowledge your eye contact, then move on to more of the audience – this is very powerful!

As this is the single most important section of the preparation and the amount of time you invest here will be re-paid ten-fold. You need to rehearse the presentation from end to end at least 4-6 times, more if you can! Why, well, once you have done it this many times you will know the material so well that you will be less reliant on your notes and need to think less about what you say and more about how you say it.

Make the rehearsal as realistic as possible – deliver the presentation in front of friends or family or look at yourself in a mirror(yes it will feel embarrassing, but you can iron out what sounds good and what doesn’t and change phrases that don’t sound quite right). You will also see those idiosyncrasies that you have – hands in pocket, going “um” a lot, shuffling or pacing and you can then work on reducing them – I didn’t say getting rid of them altogether, just get them under control.

Once you’ve done the presentation in front of friend, family or a mirror doing it in front of a live audience is relatively straightforward – honestly!

In Conclusion

We can all present well if we make sure we follow a few basic principles.

  1. Be clear what it is you want the audience to do as a result of listening to you. Make sure you tell them what your purpose is early on.
  2. Provide appropriate detail, in the form of evidences and proofs, to convince them that this course of action is to their advantage.
  3. Engage with the audience. Make a personal connection with them, no matter how numerous they are.

Most important of all is to rehearse the presentation sufficiently so that you know the material so well you can concentrate on how you engage the audience, and are not just thinking about what you have to say. How many rehearsals this is depends on you, but the acknowledged industry thinking is that this will be between 5-8 times for the first time you present the material and 3-5 thereafter.

The Bid Coach are experts in training your teams to win.

Contact Hugh at: via www.thebidcoach.com or win@thebidcoach.com

or ring (01963) 240555

Interview Techniques

Via Scoop.itInterview Techniques

Do you know that bad body language can cost you an interview? Bad body language is
one of the top job interview mistakes you can ever do to your career. There are
some things you will think you are doing right but may be wrong or do NOT go
well with the other parties in the interview.

Over 70% of any message we convey is in how we say it, rather than the actual words? You will realize at the end of the interview that an interviewer has been making up
their mind about you, and that takes into account more than just what you say.
Job interview presentation is massively important and the right interview body
language is a big part of that.

Your body language at interview is crucial to the impression you make. It is about
your personal impact, and how you say what you say. This is an area where you can gain the biggest advantage over your competitors if you know what you are doing. As your knowledge and confidence in this area increases you will be able to leave them further and further behind. Often candidates worry they cannot learn the skills of interview body language, let alone put them into practice. Body language is both an art
and a science. You could spend a long time studying and learning how to apply
it but you don’t have to.

Once you grasp the idea that your answer is more than just the words you say you
will undoubtedly improve your presentation and delivery because of your
newfound awareness. To grasp this concept there are traits that you need like;

~ Friendliness.

Confidence

~ Interest

Using your body language effectively can help you create a rapport with the
interviewer.

This is a whole discipline in itself but you will succeed by making use of the
following tips:

1. Present yourself as a winner: Because if you look, smell and act like the
successful candidate the chances are you will ultimately be that successful
candidate.

2. Give a good handshake: A good firm handshake shows confidence and gives a strong impression.
Apply a firm pressure, but don’t go overboard and grip too tightly!

3. The eyes have it: Keeping a reasonable amount of eye contact indicates you are confident in your abilities and comfortable with the questions being asked of you.

4. Learn the art of sitting down: You want your posture to send a positive
message. No slouching. Sit straight with both feet on the ground. Don’t fidget
with your hands. Placing them in your lap indicates you are comfortable and
confident.

5. Smile. Smiling is one of the simplest ways to create a great impression. Smiling not
only helps you feel more confident, but relaxes the interviewer and helps to
warm them towards you.

Call us now on 01963 240555 or email win@thebidcoach.com

Less is More!

When you have a framework (or structure) for the key messages you want to communicate and having checked that the story flows logically (otherwise re-order it so it does) you can then start to flesh out each section.

Add detail for each section and think about what you need to bring this to life (evidences and proofs). These are what you use to substantiate (prove) your argument. Lists of tables or numbers are not very good ways of showing these, but strong visual representations are. Do you have these already, if not who does and can you get them?  Always check if using material from a colleague that they know how you are going to use their material and double-check that they are correct.

Having fleshed out the structure with your content read it out loud to yourself,, to check that the logic still holds and the arguments don’t contradict one another. At this stage it is common to have to re-order key points or re-word them in order that they flow better together. Having done this you should also have an idea as  to how long the presentation will take to deliver, and thus how much material you need to take out. [This is the case in 90% of the clients we work with!]

Avoid too much detail for several reasons. Firstly, it may trip you up when you are presenting. Secondly, the audience probably won’t be able to either absorb all the detail or remember it. Thirdly, it distracts from the core messages that you absolutely want them to remember. LESS IS MORE is the golden rule!

The Bid Coach are experts in training your teams to win.

Contact Hugh at: via www.thebidcoach.com or win@thebidcoach.com

or ring (01963) 240555

Be Prepared!

Make sure your presentation is delivered as you intend, there are a few things that you should do, to make sure you have covered all eventualities.

The 48 hours before the event

  • Confirm with the client that no arrangements have changed
  •  Double-check the address of the venue, and any access restrictions
  • Confirm the dress code to all attending – better to be too formal than too informal.
  • Assign specific tasks to people and divide the presentation materials across the team. (No one person should have the one piece without which you cannot go ahead)
  • Take your own – paper, pens, pointers, easels, screen, extension leads
  • Check whether it’s OK to stick / pin anything to the walls – then make sure you use the correct means (pins, blu-tac, magnetic pads)
  • Be aware of anything happening in the area which might affect travel, such as large crowd events
  • Have contact details for all members of the team who are coming separately so you can check their progress if they are late for a rendezvous
  • Plan to rendezvous the team together at or close to the venue

On the day

  • Be familiar with, the surroundings (room layout, lighting, seating, shape of room etc.)
  • Learn how to control the atmosphere (lights, temperature etc.)
  • Lay the room out as suits the type of presentation (not always possible)
  • Always stand to the left of the screen – as seen by the audience
  • Ensure that you can be seen and heard by all in the room
  • Have your notes well prepared
  • Ensure compatibility with equipment (best way is to take your own)
  • Pour a glass of water
  • Rehearse your first few words to yourself
  • Take a deep breath, and hold it for a couple of seconds
  • Take a sip of water
  • Smile at the audience
  • Make eye contact with as many of the audience as is practical
  • Speak with passion and commitment
  • Remove all equipment and props. Have an inventory list and check that you take everything

The Ten Commandments to Presenting Professionally

Implementing the 10 commandments below will enable you to make nervous tension work for you and not against you!

It is natural (indeed instinctive and good) to feel some tension and excitement before making a presentation. This is the so called “fight or flight” response.

Control this and your mind will be sharper and more focused on the subject matter and you will perform better.

Follow the Ten Commandments of Presenting (according to The Bid Coach) and you will significantly improve your chances of delivering a concise, accurate and memorable presentation.

1. Prepare – thoroughly in advance

Ensure that you have considered every probability and mitigated against it. If it can go wrong it will – you need to be able to take any issues in your stride and carry on regardless – the prospect / audience may not even realise you had encountered a problem if you have prepared thoroughly enough. Even if they do see you have had an issue the way in which you overcame it will demonstrate very powerfully what a true professional you are – and will fill them with confidence!

2. Practice, practice, practice!

This is something that you can never do too much of (contrary to popular belief). Some people believe that you can practice too much and take the spontaneity out of your performance. Actually the complete reverse is true! When you know the material very well and are completely confident with it you can deliver it whilst at the same time “listening to” and responding to your audience, making subtle changes to what you say and how you say it (which makes the delivery all the more powerful). You can also concentrate on “the show” to the audience – this enhances the memorability of what you say exponentially (which is a lot!)

3. Have good notes.

Not the full text, just key points – written on nothing bigger than A5 size (postcard size is better). Make sure there is nothing you don’t want the audience to see on the side facing them. The material the notes are written on should look smart.  (Scruffy notes make you look unprofessional).

Number each sheet in case you drop them or they get out of order. Use large writing – so you can easily read them. Highlight key words or phrases in a bright colour.

AND use your own made up shorthand – this can include pictures or single word prompts – anything that means something to you! Put a sheet down once you have finished with it, or put it to the back of your “pack”.

4. Have a glass of water within reach

Take a sip if things feel out of control. Even if they don’t take a sip periodically anyway – this allows you to re-set yourself and to look at your audience to gauge how they are responding to you.

5. Slow deep breaths – before you stand up, or get into the sight of the audience

This helps you to get focused and slow your heart rate down (the excitement could be making it race). It also gives you time to think about the opening remarks of your presentation and to get these thoughts into your head.

6. Pause – for 3 to 5 seconds before you start to speak

This might feel like a long time to you, but it is nothing to the audience. It gives them time to settle down and get ready to start listening to you. Use the pause to gather your thoughts and to control your nerves. Think something positive about yourself.

During the pause make eye contact with as many people in the audience as possible. Make sure to caste your eyes across the entire room. Do not just scan the audience; make deliberate eye contact with them.

6. a. Pause – frequently during the presentation

Take that sip of water! The pause allows the audience to absorb what you have presented recently – there are limits to how much information an audience can comprehend so make it easy for them by using the pause to enable them to consider your most recent points

Remember, the only person who knows you might have lost your train of thought is you (the audience has no idea!)

7. Remove distractions.

Empty your pockets of lose change, keys etc. TURN OFF YOUR MOBILE PHONE

8. Keep control of yourself.

Let your arms and hands be passive, but also use them positively when you want to emphasise a point. You can rest them the podium if you are presenting from one, but do not grip this tightly, or hold it all of the time. DO NOT PUT YOUR HANDS IN YOUR POCKETS – EXCEPT FOR A SPECIFIC EFFECT!

9. Check the equipment works

Check every piece of equipment twice. Pay particular attention to audio – sound will travel better when the room is empty than when it is filled by your audience. Equally you don’t want to deafen them. In a large room check all areas of the room can hear and see you OK

10. Have a backup.

A disc, or memory stick (if using electronic material) or acetates (old fashioned) and be prepared to deliver the presentation without any props at all. This can be very daunting if the subject matter requires a lot of visuals!

In summary:

1. Use a clear and distinctive speaking voice.

2. Remember non-verbal signals communicate more than words.

3. Project confidence.

Competitive Dialogue – Friend or Foe?

If you want to improve your chances of scoring well through this process it is important to improve the performance of your team and increase their standing within the eyes of the awarding contractor.

The new Competitive Dialogue (CD) procedure was introduced as part of the Public Contracts Regulations in the UK from the end of January 2006. However CD is not appropriate for all forms of procurement in the public sector. A contracting authority is only entitled to invoke the procedure where it “considers that the use of the open or restricted procedure will not allow the award of a contract”. Or, put another way when the authority is not able to objectively define one or more of the following definitively – the legal, financial or technical solutions that would best satisfy their needs or objectives – in other words the more complex projects! The net result of this for both parties is that the solutions will evolve and develop as a result of the process and may change quite radically during it.

Any authority engaging in the process must be extremely vigilant to make sure that all potential bidders are treated fairly and equally, for the sake of the process itself and to make sure no challenges are made after the final award – this would be costly for all concerned, reduce contractors faith in the authority and significantly delay the project itself.

Under the regulations a minimum of three bidders must be invited to dialogue after the PQQ stage. During the Invitation to Dialogue ask the awarding authority must include details of the criteria by which the bids will be evaluated against and the associated weightings.

It is envisaged that there will be at least two stages to the CD process. The first will focus on the outline solutions from each potential bidder and should allow the contracting authority to mark the potential bidders against the stated criteria and then rationalize the number of bidders down ahead of the second stage. A short list of bidders will then generally be invited to submit detailed priced technical solutions. Further dialogue sessions are likely to follow to explore the solutions and resolve any outstanding issues. There must be sufficient bidders involved in this stage of the process to allow for genuine competition – the minimum number for this is generally regarded as three.

Dialogue can continue until the authority has identified the solution(s) which meet its needs, including key contractual terms. Bids must always be assessed by the evaluation criteria previously disclosed to the bidders – and must be selected on the basis of the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT).

In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of legal challenges by aggrieved bidders. One reason for this is that due to the credit crunch there are fewer alternative opportunities around for unsuccessful bidders to move to, and also bidders are generally more aware of their rights.

Once the final tender is selected (under CD) there can be no post tender negotiation. The issue with the above for the awarding authority is that there is a danger of closing the dialogue too early, before all eventualities have been explored. On the flip side, if the dialogue stage lasts too long it will potentially have significant cost impact of the contractors involved and they may pull out of the scheme before the process is completed, thus making the whole thing either null and void, or at best seriously undermined.

From the awarding authorities perspective CD offers them the opportunity to enter into meaningful dialogue with the private sector. Through the flexibility of the process they can then draw upon significant amounts of expertise and knowledge. To be successful the CD process does demand time and resource from both sides, but provided that when both parties engage they are fully aware of the commitments required then there is every reason the process will be successful – to the maximum benefit of both sides.

Call us now on 01963 240555 or email win@thebidcoach.com