Oral proposals are like a job interview for your company. The written proposal qualifies the selling organization, but the oral proposal may determine the winner. Generally, teams asked to give oral proposals have made the short list and the customer wants a preview of what it will be like to work with them. The customer might want to see how the contractor solves problems, as written in the proposal.
Plan your approach before preparing your presentation
Both oral and written proposals require careful planning before preparing the presentation or document. The Proposal Manager or other leader should facilitate the oral presentation. Before presenting, always conduct a final dress rehearsal with the entire team. By properly preparing and rehearsing the presentation, each speaker can refine his or her persuasive message and develop the delivery skills needed to be successful.
Conduct oral proposal training with an orals coach
Make sure to engage a qualified orals coach, either internal or external to your organization, to prepare your team.Your orals coach should conduct formal training to bring your team up to speed. Orals coaches can help proposal teams deliver the most effective and persuasive oral presentations possible.
Leverage an oral-proposal planner template
Use a template to build a presentation that is logical, responsive, consistent, and persuasive. A template lends structure and logic to help you develop powerful presentations that are easy to follow and understand. Order your main points as specified in the bid request. If no instructions are provided, present main points in order of importance to the customer.
Create effective visuals
Carefully selected visuals have a powerful effect on evaluators. Visuals help readers remember key messages, particularly after a series of oral proposals presented in one mind-numbing day or several days apart. Make sure the oral proposal team rehearses with the visuals. Coach presenters to always speak to the audience, not the visual.
Develop a winning delivery style
A winning delivery style reinforces your verbal messages. Non-verbal messages can reinforce, replace, or contradict your verbal message. Your goal should be to control your non-verbal messages so they reinforce your verbal delivery.
Practice and rehearse
A key danger for an oral proposal team is the lack of necessary practice and rehearsal. If your team has rehearsed your presentation in advance, you will increase your chances of success. Each presenter should practice his or her presentation 10 to 15 times out loud to become effective.
Don’t assume that the oral proposal is an opportunity to improve your solution and modify what was in your written proposal.Even if your solution or cost is improved, you must be sure you understand what you can and cannot do during the oral presentation. Some teams try to “wing it” during the presentation and fail to truly prepare. Don’t fall into this trap. Plan and practice carefully to win.