You’ve read about the Three Proposal Commandments, where we discussed the three golden rules of writing a winning proposal. In that post, we briefly mentioned the proposal presentation. Proposal presentations are the critical deciding factor when all of the bidders have comparable past performance experience and capabilities. Presentations provide your team an opportunity to demonstrate capabilities, show teamwork, and sell the evaluation board on your offerings.
“It is my assertion that proposal presentations are the critical criteria for winning the contract…your presentation is usually the only way to distinguish your team among other teams who are also qualified.” Jeff Everage, President, and Founder of Trident Proposals
Types of Government Oral Presentations
For the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus on the most common types of oral presentations: the caucus and response and the static proposal presentation.
The Caucus and Response Presentation
In the caucus and response proposal presentation, the presenting team is typically sequestered in a Government site conference room and given a sample task question or set of questions to answer. The Government will let you use PowerPoint or a paper flip chart for visuals. They won’t allow you to have internet access or talk with anyone outside the team while you develop your response. This on-the-spot format helps them determine if your team really knows what they are doing.
Static Proposal Presentations
The static presentation is prepared and rehearsed ahead of time, based on the Government’s questions in the RFP. The Government limits the time and the number of slides allowed and won’t consider anything that goes beyond those limits. Static presentations are developed in PowerPoint and sometimes converted into Adobe .pdf files for submission as a stand-alone volume.
“If your team is the entrenched incumbent recompeting for your contract—watch out for arrogance. If another team gives an amazing professional and technical performance during their oral presentation, they could easily unseat you.” Jeff Everage
Oral Presentations and the Busy Grader Principle:
The Technical Evaluation Board (TEB) are your Busy Graders.
Remember that they may:
- Be distracted
- Be busy
- Be biased to a specific contractor
- All have different preferred approaches or technology that they are expecting to see
- Want to get the evaluation done quickly
With those things in mind, it becomes of the utmost importance that you capture and retain their attention and make their jobs easier, just like with a written proposal.
“Getting and holding the TEB’s attention is the Holy Grail of oral proposal presentations.” Jeff Everage
How to Capture the TEB’s Attention During Your Presentation
Problem: The TEB is distracted
Solution: Get their attention with triggers; move around the room, tell a story, be expressive and upbeat, relate to them by pointing out what their professional concerns may be and how your team can help, be fun and engaged with your team.
Problem: Everyone on the TEB Learns in Different Ways
Solution: Mix it up a bit and drive home the same point through varied strategies. Tell stories, show graphs, charts or pictures, write the question you are answering down on a whiteboard and bullet point your answers.
Problem: The TEB uses confusing grading sheets
Solution: Make it as easy as possible for the TEB to track your presentation on the grading sheet by being obvious about which questions you are answering. Just like in a written proposal, you want to follow the format, use the same language in the question in your answer and don’t ramble.
With a well-practiced oral presentation, done in an easy format, with interesting and engaging visuals, your team will set themselves apart from the competition and can increase your winning chances. For the next blog in our series, we will discuss how to effectively manage your proposal.