4 Variables to consider while preparing orals presentations

The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. –Vincent Lombardi

Today, many agencies use orals presentations, in addition to written proposals, to gauge the technical knowledge and management experience of team members proposed to support their programs. Orals presentations also help government evaluators visualize the potential working relationship with each contractor and provide an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification regarding the proposing team’s understanding, approaches, processes, and technical competence.

Many aspects of narrative proposals and orals presentations are similar, but the nature of the orals presentation medium also creates significant differences and new variables that you must consider as you prepare the orals presentation. These include:

  1. Presenters – this includes the presenters’ speaking styles, familiarity with the material, knowledge of the audience, and knowledge of your team, as well as decisions about how many speakers to use, who to use, and how to switch from one presenter to another smoothly.
  2. Logistics and environment – this includes the room size and configuration, available equipment, furniture arrangement, lighting, where speaker(s) stand, where the audience sits, etc.
  3. Presentation timing – this encompasses two aspects. The first is out of your control – the date and time the client schedules for your presentation and your presentation order in relation to your competitors’. The second, which you do control, is how you pace delivery of your material to fall within the established time limits.
  4. Medium – this includes development of a storyline that is strong enough and coherent enough to carry the audience from start to finish, your ability to use design elements to reinforce structure and flow, your ability to use progressive disclosure (incrementally building a complex graphic to make it easier for the audience to understand) and other animation, development and rehearsal of a script that corresponds with and reinforces your slides, and timing of each slide.

Each orals presentation comprises the slide deck (which must be delivered in real time without any technical or speaker glitches), speaker(s) script, and printed copies of the presentation and any handouts. You may also be able to present specific graphics on display boards to emphasize or clarify information during the presentation. You may embed a video clip or other file type into the presentation to reinforce or illustrate your message. You may develop backup slides in anticipation of a Q&A session. This variety of deliverables necessitates your involving orals experts for presentation development, production, and delivery.

If the client indicates that orals will be part of the proposal effort or if you anticipate orals, begin developing your orals presentation early to ensure you obtain the right skill sets and allow staff time to rehearse the material – even in draft form. This eliminates a rush to get through the orals development process while also preparing any required narrative.

By the Lohfeld Consulting Group Team