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5 Presentation Tips to Ace Your Proposals

To see an idea come to life, you need to get other people on board. Whether you’re looking to start a new business venture, work on a new project for your company, or recommend a new policy you believe in, you can’t expect to do everything on your own. Eventually, you’ll need support from other individuals to get the metaphorical ball rolling. That could be in the form of funding or approval from your senior executives. Whatever the case, a great idea doesn’t come to life after you’ve figured out the details. That’s just the first step. To get the support you need, you have to present and ace your proposal.

This task may sound easy enough, especially after the amount of time you’ve spent perfecting your proposal. A great idea should attract the support it needs, right? Not if you can’t communicate your vision properly.

Present your idea with amazing clarity through these 5 presentation tips:

As always, get straight to the point

The people you look to for support will often have busy schedules. When you get the opportunity to present your proposal, you’ll have limited time to do it. If you want to make the most of the time you have, you can’t waste a single second discussing things that aren’t particularly important to the big picture. Your main goal is to introduce your new idea and talk about its value and merits. Don’t waste time going into inconsequential stories about the whole process. As with any presentation, it’s important to get straight to the point and focus on the most important parts of your discussion.

Follow a specific agenda

To avoid going off on a tangent, you should present your proposal by following a clear-cut structure. As John Hall of HubSpot’s Agency Post writes, the best way to do that is by following a specific agenda. He suggests covering several major points in your presentation, especially if you’re conversing with prospect clients.

Start your presentation by giving a brief introduction. What is the context behind your proposal? What are the challenges you’re hoping to address? Once you’ve set up the scene, talk about the benefits that your proposal will bring. How can your idea solve the challenges you just detailed? Make sure you provide a clear picture by sharing data and specific examples. After that, you can begin delving into the details of your proposal. What is your specific plan? If you’re pitching to prospects, you can also share some quick details about your company. For other situations, you can skip to closing your presentation by reviewing the main points of your proposal.

Focus on sharing a story

Through all these steps, it’s easy to get lost in discussing particular things like budget constraints and market predictions. While these details are important to show the validity of your proposal, don’t forget the vision that’s behind everything else. What is your idea really about? Don’t let the audience lose sight of the underlying principle. Behind every piece of information you have to share is a story. Don’t forget to focus on that story and use your information as supporting details. Here are a few more tips to help you focus on the story behind your proposal.

Use the data you have wisely

Creating a proposal that’s supported with hard facts and data will definitely add to your credibility. However, you need to use the numbers you have wisely. You can’t just dump all of your data into your PowerPoint presentation. To use data properly, you need to carefully curate which information is most crucial to your main points. Review the numbers you’ve gathered and try to simplify them as best you can. Remember, your proposal is mainly about an idea that tells a story. Like everything else in your presentation, the data you share should contribute to moving that narrative forward. You can take a look at our previous blog post to learn more about  presenting data correctly.

Encourage questions and discussions

Communication is a two-way street, so don’t be afraid to ask the audience for questions or comments. Most people think that receiving questions is a sign of a negative outcome, but that’s hardly the case. When the audience opens up to you with their insight, it simply means they’re willing to engage with your ideas. Acknowledge their comments and thank them for their suggestions. Answer their questions as best as you can and avoid feeling like you have to be defensive. If you encounter something you can’t really answer, tell them you’ll follow-up with through an email. Don’t be afraid to turn your presentation into a fruitful discussion. Open communication will only benefit your upcoming project in the long run.

You can’t see your proposal turn into reality without the support of other individuals. Before you get to that point, you need to communicate your vision in a manner that’s clear and concise. Get the ball rolling and see your idea to the end by following these presentation tips.




Featured Image: Basheer Tome via Flickr

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