Make Good Nonprofit Oral Presentations with Graphics

Today, top bidders to a Request for Proposals (RFP) usually have to make oral presentations following the submission and evaluation of their proposals.  This applies to nonprofit organizations as well as companies.  Because these oral presentations will make the difference between winning and losing a contract, they must be done thoroughly and persuasively.

According to Mike Parkinson of the 24 Hour Company, a proposal graphics design firm in theWashington,DCmetropolitan area, there are three common problems in oral proposal presentations:

  • Too much razzle-dazzle.  Fancy pictures, huge amounts of data, overly technical slides, and unnecessary special effects can confuse and distract your evaluators.  Few government reviewers are impressed with graphic fireworks in oral presentations.
  • Too much Me.  Unfortunately, too many oral presentations are about your organization and not about your customer.  Evaluators primarily want to know how your solution will benefit them.  Why would it be otherwise?
  • Too much data.  Your oral presentation is a sales presentation.  You are trying to convince skeptical government evaluators that you are best qualified to win the contract.  Too much data, especially without accompanying stories and graphics, will simply overwhelm reviewers and obscure your main points.

Parkinson recommends that you take these three steps to develop a good oral presentation:

  • Step 1:  Simplify, simplify.  Get to your point early and repeat your main themes often.  In oral presentations, less is more.  Your graphics should help evaluators focus on the most important information you want to convey.
  • Step 2Affect emotions.  Information is usually not enough to sway an audience.    Visually show evaluators how your organization and its solutions will benefit them.  In other words, affectively connect your solution to the needs of your audience.
  • Step 3Use good graphics.  Oral presentations have an important visual component.  Effective graphics increase understanding and comprehension and make it easier for your audience to process information and store it in their long-term memories.  Use clear, informative graphics as a key component of your presentation, both to tell stories and to present data.

There are many other elements that go into a persuasive oral presentation, but if you address these three common problems, you will win more contracts through your oral presentations.  Good graphics will help you avoid typical pitfalls in oral presentations and be more persuasive when talking to government evaluators.



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