When you’re asked to prepare a bid or tender presentation, there’s a high probability that you’ll turn on the computer and go straight to PowerPoint and start work on the slides.
You may not have a clear idea of the content you want, but already you’re thinking about the visual aids.
Whilst that might seem the logical approach, there’s so much more you can achieve in your bid and tender presentations, without relying solely on visual aids.
Back to basics…
Before we go any further, let’s just take a step back and start to rethink what we’re doing by taking a look at the very basic principles.
When delivering a winning presentation your main objective is to implant positive messages about your company in the minds of the audience.
Your principal route into their mind is the ear; they hear the words you use.
Visual aids give you a second route into the readers mind via the eye. They can now read words and see images, which should reinforce what they heard with their ears.
By using two routes into the minds of your listeners – the auditory and the visual – their grasp of your messages is enhanced, engagement increased and retention boosted.
Lovely. Job done.
Start thinking differently…
Hang on though. Your listeners have five senses, not just two. There’s sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
So why limit yourself to just two?
Why just visual aids? Why not engage the audience’s other three senses?
Take physical objects the client can touch, handle and examine during the presentation.
You could pass objects around and invite the client, for example, to assess the quality of the surface finish, or the mechanical strength and durability.
A plastics manufacturer pitching for new business invited clients to attempt to bend or break components.
And don’t forget smell.
A subsea engineering client of ours recently handed out samples of seabed material from an environmentally sensitive area.
During the presentation the client was invited to smell the seabed “mud.” The presenter outlined precautions to ensure continuation of the delicate microbiological processes causing the odours.
A waste treatment contractor invited the client to handle and smell samples of composts created by their processes. A senior client director commenting, “My tomatoes would love this stuff.”
There’s taste too. Even catering contractors seldom think of including a tasting in their presentation.
Think like your clients
Imagine you have sat through six presentations on waste treatment in a single day.
Five were loaded with PowerPoint slides.
But during one, you ran your fingers through compost feeling it’s fine texture and moisture retention. You even learn to assess the quality of compost my smelling it.
Which presentation has made a lasting impact? Which presentation do you remember?
Most importantly though, which one has won your vote?
So next time you have a bid or tender presentation to create, take some time to consider what other aids you could use to boost engagement, information retention and message comprehension.