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Sunday, May 20, 2007

The best presentation tool -- Human beings!

Bernie Siben has it right here when he points out that if you are making a proposal presentation the human interaction in the process is the most important element -- slick PowerPoint presentations may do more harm than good.

The point he makes is that if you've reached the short list for a formal in-person presentation, the prospective client is satisfied with your basic technical ability and competence -- you wouldn't have reached the short list stage if you didn't meet the essential objective qualifications. So the last thing the prospective client wants to see is a slick, standardized, computer generated presentation -- the potential client is interested in you, your team, the 'fit' and the connection your team generates with their organization. They want to feel that they would enjoy working with you and your team.

Sure, PowerPoint and other technical resources have a place in the presentation room in certain circumstances -- you may need to show some slides, evidence, or imagery. But I think Bernie is right to advocate not relying on these resources as a crutch or to avoid the importance of interacting with your clients.

(Note as well, I believe it doesn't hurt that much to show yourself as less than perfect or slick. If you bring technical experts to the meeting and they are shy or nervous, provided they are also enthusiastic, knowledgeable and competent, I think they will score more points than the person who looks perfect but sounds like he or she was recruited from Central Casting. Would you rather do business with someone who knows what they are doing, or is a good actor!)

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