An oral proposal that’s part of the procurement process for a major job requires careful planning and attention to detail.

An oral proposal can be a nerve-wracking endeavor. The more nervous you get, the more likely you are to forget some crucial detail. Advance planning is the key to success.

Here’s a list of issues your team may want to review:

A Week before the Presentation

  • Confirm time, date, and location of presentation.
  • Give customer/offeror names of participants.
  • Obtain clearances/passes for participants, if necessary.
    Have clothes cleaned and pressed, shoes shined.
  • Print and bind copies of your PowerPoint™ slides to give to the selection team at the time of your presentation.
  • Determine what equipment and material you will bring. (Always take along a backup laptop, projector, and extension cord – even if the customer is providing them.)
    • Determine who is responsible for transporting
    • One copy (at least) of your written proposal
    • Printed copies of your slides,
    • Laptop(s), projector(s), cables, and extension cord
    • A backup copy (on CD or memory stick) of your presentation
    • Bottled water (at room temperature) for participants
    • Pads and pencils to take notes during the Q&A session
    • Any other material
  • Decide when and where you will meet prior to the presentation.
  • Create and distribute to each participant a list of each participants’ cell phone numbers (in case of last minute emergencies).
  • Make reservations at a restaurant/bar for a post-presentation celebration.

The Morning of the Oral Proposal

Limit your intake of caffeine and dairy products.
Check all equipment and material.

Immediately before the Oral Proposal

  • Set up laptop/projector, test equipment, sharpen focus.
  • Empty front pants and coat pockets.
  • Leave cell phones outside or in briefcase. Turn off.
  • Decide on seating arrangements.
  • Meet and greet selection committee (if appropriate).

During the Oral Proposal

Even when you’re not presenting, you are “on.”
Look interested in presentation. Smile. Nod your head when your teammate makes a point.
Designated time keeper tracks time and lets the rest of the team know where they stand.
Drink room-temperature water (not ice water).

Following the Presentation

  • Go to lunch or dinner. Have a drink. Celebrate. (You’ve worked hard. You deserve to celebrate. You can always celebrate again later when you win the contract.)
  • Do an “after action review.” Describe in detail what happened during the presentation: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Assess how the presentation went – its strengths and weaknesses. Make suggestions – “lessons learned” – for future presentations.
  • Follow up with client.

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Check out How to Plan an Oral Proposal and The Red Team’s Evaluation.

Chris Witt is an presentations coach based in San Diego who specializes in providing team coaching for oral proposals. For more information, contact us.