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 or

or ring (01963) 240555


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 or

or ring (01963) 240555

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.

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