CBR003593I have just done a favour for a client they asked me to review a presentation that they are making as part of the tender process for a significant chunk of business.

The presentation arrived (all 18Mb) of it and within three pages could see a reason not to do business with this company.

Slide 1 Introduction A presentation for X by Y (Fair enough I suppose)

Slide 2 A fourteen point agenda slide , bullets 18pt no visual content at all ( I suppose they were working on that age old maxim tell em how you are going to bore them, bore them , tell em how you just bored them.)

Slide 3 A brief overview of their company history and operations.(all about us)

Sadly I see this all the time, a golden opportunity to impress and engage the group is wasted with a formulaic and self centered approach.

When I took this up with my client (who doesn’t mind me writing this so long as I protect their anonymity) They argued that they always started their presentations this way…! In fact they could point me to an internal document from their Marketing department that suggested this was the company standard.

Talking about your agenda and your company at the start of a presentation is almost always counter productive. In a competitive tender the client wants to find out why you are the right partner for them so talk about them first.

There are many ways to do this but as a default mechanism start your presentation with a review of the client’s objectives. What are their objectives? What do they want from the partnership? If you cant answer these two questions prior to the presentation then you shouldn’t really be there.

Do your prep, and remember that the presentation is all about the client, their objectives preferences and needs. If you start talking about you, people start to switch off, talk about them first and you make it easy for them to tune in to your presentation. When you have their full attention, when they are fully engaged then you can tell them why you are their best solution.

If you have an important pitch coming up and you want to talk it through drop me a line it is amazing how your chances of winning (or at least achieving your stated objective ) can be dramatically improved with just a few amendments.