Hopefully, you have taken advice from my previous blog posts about bid presentations (What Selection Committees Really Want and Engagement Requires Being Audience-Centric) that you must reserve time to think about, prepare, and practice your upcoming client interview presentation. Without the proper steps being taken, success is less likely.
But once you get past the presentation part, there is still the Questions & Answers session, or Q&A for short, to get through. Q&A sessions always tend to be the less feared portion for some. In fact, some presenters look forward to. It all depends on the types of questions that are asked and how well prepared you are for them.
If you have been getting questions to clarify what you said during your bid presentations, then you aren’t explaining the information simply enough. If you have been getting zero questions, then that’s not necessarily good either because the audience might be so dazed and confused that they don’t know where to begin asking questions.
Ideally, during your client interviews or bid presentations, you should be giving the listeners examples from past or ongoing jobs and techniques that your company perfected that relate to this job. You should also be explaining what steps will be taken and what check points you are putting in place to ensure that the job goes smoothly. This meticulous planning sets up your Q&A session perfectly, you want the listeners to ask questions and interact with you, so you bait them. Baiting for questions allows you to anticipate what questions they are going to ask, which in turn, gives the opportunity for you to be prepared to answer those questions.
The questions you want are those about how to put your strategy to use and in regards to implementing your amazing skills on this project. These implementation questions are the conversation starter that everyone looks forward to because you get the selection committee thinking about working you and you get to talk about fun stuff. It removes the presenter/audience barrier and makes it a friendlier, less formal atmosphere. You’ll know you’re there when the selection committee has warm smiles and are nodding their head in agreement and excitement. This is a great gauge of whether bid presentations are successful, not a lack of questions.
Here is my last tip for Q&A sessions. If presenting as a team of more than two people, appoint a leader to acknowledge each question and then delegate which team member is most qualified to answer it.
I lied, I have one more Q&A tip. If the answer given absolutely requires additional information then only elaborate on the answer one single time. Any more than one additional thing on top of an answer defeats the power of it, makes your team look unified, and demeans the original expert responding to the question.
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