How to win an audience by improving presentation skills before and during a major client bid.


The company received an invitation to bid for a new project. A written proposal was raised in response to the invitation and submitted formally competing with other bidders. The client then invited three organisations to a formal presentation.


The company recognised that their bid price would be significantly higher than the existing supplier and that they were not well known within the client organisation. Additionally the nature of the presentations required was different to previous experiences consisting primarily of a panel interview.
They therefore sought external advice to help plan and deliver a face to face encounter. After considering three existing external skill trainers they selected an independent specialist from Strategic Management Partners, Clive Bonny, who was trained in NLP (neurolinguistic programming) communication skills.


An initial brief discussion enabled Clive to provide an outline strategy for the project and agree an agenda and action plan. This critiqued progress to date, obtained more information about the client requirements and added a plan to rehearse the presentation. Preparation included listening to audio tapes, reviewing written content and undertaking analysis to obtain further details from the client.


The second brief meeting with the consultant focused on highlighting the unique aspects of the presentation. A “SWOT analysis” of the presentation was undertaken identifying strengths and weaknesses. This information identified unique aspects of the offer around which the presentation was built.
These key points were emphasised with graphical images to ensure impact and retention by the audience. They also analysed personality styles to modify and adapt delivery styles to different members of the audience.
The consultant then critiqued the original written proposal, identifying improvement areas and how to handle difficult questions by panellists. Brainstorming possible questions and the best responses then set the scene for the third and final act: rehearsal.


For the dress rehearsal a team of internal panellists were selected and briefed on the situation and their roles. A video camera was set up to record the presentation and questions, enabling all to analyse and improve not only content but also their styles in packaging their messages appropriately.
This included starting and ending with a BANG, to galvanise audience interest; handling handover between presenters to demonstrate teamwork; showing positive body language; how to handle difficult questions on the spot; using information from recent customer surveys as proof statements of credibility.


The sessions with the consultant were short, sharp and highly interactive. By splitting a day training into two parts participants also ensure their ideas could evolve and be tested without disrupting other work in progress. It was a training course with tailored personal coaching.
“Clive charged a simple hourly rate and his supply of support materials to work on between sessions gave us cost-effective advice and the flexibility we needed to build our short presentations into our very busy schedule. We can say with certainty that what we have learned will help us win future bids.”