Are you ready to deliver a knock-out presentation to win a big project?

Not really?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many in the Architecture/Engineering/Construction (A/E/C) industry excel at design.  But speaking isn’t their strength.

Like you, they may worry about appearing in front of a selection committee to secure work.

You follow a process for designing successful projects. You can do the same for creating an engaging speech.

Concentrate on addressing your prospect’s concerns and objectives. Improve your chances of winning that work by avoiding the following presentation pitfalls:

  1. Ignoring Your Prospect’s Midnight Worries

 What keeps your prospects up at night? If you can address their hot buttons and answer the selection committee’s concerns, you’re positioning your team to win.

 You addressed solutions in your proposal. Go deeper in your presentation. Use customized stories and graphics to explain how your team will make their life easier and achieve their goals.

 Like a ship’s captain, demonstrate how  you’ll navigate through unexpected challenges to obtain a successful outcome. Reassure your prospects that you’ll deal with problems that may arise.

  1. Boring Your Audience with Uninspired Presenters

Select the right presenters to maximize your message. Prospects expect to see the project manager. Who else will best relate to your audience? It may not be the CEO. 

Your team could include experienced staff and younger professionals who know the prospects and the critical issues they face.

When planning your presentation, look for your “A” team. Who is best suited to work together to convince prospects that you’re the top choice?     

  1. Diluting Your Main Message with Too Much Information

Limit the scope of your presentation and emphasize three main messages. Otherwise, you’ll confuse the project’s selection team. Delight your prospects with your insights about their project and community.

Brainstorm with your team to identify key messages. Review your initial proposal, if applicable. What else can you add to demonstrate your knowledge?

Clearly present these messages. Bring in local photos or graphics to relate to your prospects. Offer new insights to show you’re already helping to solve their problems.

  1. Avoiding Practice

Now for the tough part. It’s always challenging to practice in front of your peers. The good news is that the presentation will be more natural if you do.

These rehearsals will help you to identify the awkward parts. You may rearrange sections or even throw out boring parts. And what’s more, your team will gain confidence.

When the presentation day arrives, your preparation will pay off. Sure, you’ll have nerves, but you’ll also demonstrate the confidence that prospects want to see.

  1. Beginning Your Presentation with a Weak Opening

A client interview begins when you enter the room. From the start, show that you’re a team that works together. Greet committee members, if appropriate.

When you begin your presentation, highlight your three key points. You’ll repeat them during the talk and in your summary. Captivate your prospects with a story, if possible.

Prospects can spot passion. I recall an interview where two young engineers demonstrated their love for their work. The firm got the job.

  1. Preparing Ahead of Time for Your Prospect’s Questions

Don’t dread the question and answer session following your presentation. Practice answers to expected queries, especially the hot-button topics.

Some firms keep a file of prospect’s standard questions you can review. Or ask co-workers to suggest potential comments. Designate an individual to field the queries. If needed, tell the committee you’ll get back to them with an answer.

Most A/E/C presenters hope for a response. They’ll take tough questions over the dreaded blank stares. Ask your own questions if prospects don’t have any.

  1. Losing Your Cool When You Face Unexpected Problems

You’ve practiced and prepared. If something goes wrong, improvise. Prospects like individuals who know how to deal with unanticipated challenges.

Consider bringing redundant equipment. Or be ready to talk from handouts. What’s important is your message, not the PowerPoint or other technology.

Client interviews imitate project complexities. In the field, you must resolve unexpected issues and conflicts. Bring that same mindset to your presentation, and you’ll impress the prospects.

Position Your Team for Presentation Success 

Imagine that you just received notification of an upcoming client selection interview. Stakes are high, and you want the job. And you know you’ll be competing against top firms.

After years of networking, you learned your prospect’s hot buttons. In your proposal, you revealed your customized solutions. Avoid the seven listed presentation errors and plan for success.

As professionals in the A/E/C industry, you have the expertise to design top-quality projects. Follow the outlined presentation process, and you’ll be ready to confidently share your proposed solutions with the selection committee. Then you’ll be tough to beat.

What mistakes do you avoid?