An oral proposal is both a technical presentation and a job interview. Its a technical presentation. Your teams gets one chance to show how they can help the customer solve their problems and achieve their goals. It’s a job interview. Customers want to see the people who will actually be doing the job – providing the services and interacting with their own people on a day-to-day basis.

Unfortunately, the experts who are best suited for the job aren’t always the best presenters. They know what they’re talking about, but they often lack the ability to present their ideas clearly and persuasively.

coach-ral1. Build on people’s strengths. Technical presenters tend to be detail oriented, logical, and obsessed with getting it right. As a result they can overwhelm audiences with too much information. It’s counterproductive to try to turn them into something they’re not. It’s better to help them leverage their strengths. Teach them how to use a presentation as a way of helping the audience solve a problem.

2. Make it persuasive. Technical presenters often think that they’ve done their job if they’ve said everything they know about their subject. They need to learn that the important thing is to help their audience get what they’re looking for.

Resources for Technical Experts Giving Oral Proposals

In the pages that follow you’ll find resources to help you make winning oral proposals.

What Is an Oral Proposal?
The goal of an oral proposal is to win the contract. You do so by showing the customer how your team and technical solution will solve their problems and/or meet the goals they set out in the Request for Proposal (RFP).

How to Plan an Oral Proposal
Follow these five steps to plan a winning oral proposa.

Designing PowerPoint Slides for an Oral Proposal
To avoid the most common mistakes — too much information on one slide, poorly designed and hard-to-understand graphics, and endless pages of bullet points — follow these rules.

Using PowerPoint Slides during an Oral Proposal
To make the most of your slides during your oral presentation, follow these guidelines.

How to Handle Questions and Answers during an Oral Proposal
The Q&A session during an oral proposal gives the customer the chance to see how your team will respond to them unscripted. It’s a great opportunity for your team to shine, if they follow these suggestions.

How to Rehearse an Oral Proposal
If you’ve prepared your presentation well—your message, slides, demonstration, and support material—you’ve half-way home. Once you’re ready to rehearse, start with a wall walk. Here’s how it’s done or, at least, how I do it:

The Red Team’s Evaluation
Present your proposal to a knowledgeable group of people to get their feedback and suggestions.

Pre-Oral Proposal Checklist
An oral proposal that’s part of the procurement process for a major job requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here’s a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.