Rehearsing Oral Presentations

Published by on November 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm.

Public Speaker A businessman giving a speech to a crowd of people. The businessman & podium, crowd, and background are on separately labeled layers.Oral presentations are one of the most important parts of winning a proposal. The more you and your team rehearse the more you will increase your win probability. Recognize this fact early in the proposal development process, and have participants adjust their calendars accordingly.  If you are unsure of an individual’s availability or degree of interest, seek management support to ensure participants’ full attention.  If they are simply too busy, committed elsewhere or otherwise not fully engaged, drop them from your roster. The oral presentation is too important to take on that much risk.

#1 Full Dress Rehearsal

Treat rehearsals as you would the actual presentation, timing both the individuals’ and the complete briefing.  Simulate the role of the evaluators, asking the full range of difficult questions and clarifications.  Conduct at least two “full dress rehearsals.”  During the dress rehearsals, dress in customer-driven business attire.  Remove things like keys and coins from your pockets, and turn-off cellular phones and digital watch alarms.  Ensure that the laptop-projector operator can handle the stress associated with his role, and have the operator rehearse with the full team.  Likewise, ensure that more than one participant is familiar with both your equipment and that which the government may supply, such as a laptop projector, and that they can adjust projector settings.

#2 Simulate the Location

Learn whatever you can about the specifics of the orals location such as room layout and technology; things such as whether or not there will be a podium, and duplicate the room as best as you can for your rehearsals.

#3 Dedicated Laptop-Projector Operator

If the RFP allows, dedicate a laptop-projector operator so that presenters can concentrate on their delivery, not on hardware and other distractions.  Attach colored-coded tape or a similar device to cords, plugs and ports to simplify assembly or, in the worst case, replacement during the presentation.  If a presenter wants to have more control of the presentation, arrange for a remote control and use an electronic pointer if possible.

#4 Back-up Equipment

Rehearse with exactly the same equipment that you will use on orals’ day.  Choose equipment that meets RFP requirements. Bring a complete “back-up” set of equipment, all instruction manuals, and technical support telephone numbers and web addresses.  We recommend that you bring a complete “back-up” set of equipment including your presentation recorded on CDs – “extra everything,” right down to extension cords.  Bring all instruction manuals, and technical support telephone numbers and web addresses.

Now that you fully rehearsed, make sure you are fully ready for all the aspects of the oral presentation!