Preparing for a Presentation:
• Define how you are positioned. Write down who the decision makers are and what their hot buttons are. This will help define your message during the presentation. Their hot buttons should be properly discussed and how you will deal with them determined.
• Determine who to take to the presentation and what each person’s role will be.
• Visit the site. Always send at least one team member to visit the site so you can show more interest in the project than those who haven’t taken the time to visit the site, you will get a better idea of ingress and egress, better idea of laydown areas, overhead power lines, sitework, etc.
• Determine visual aids. You should always have visual aids of some type. The complexity of your visual aids has to be determined based on what you think the owner wants to see. Hopefully you are positioned enough to be able to call and ask this question. Usually boards and/or PowerPoints are used in construction presentations. We are seeing more 3D models being use to show elevations and also utilizing flyover technology. The 3D models cost start around $2,500 and depending on how detailed you want to get the cost can get up to $15,000. If you have an interest in using this technology call us and we can refer you to reputable companies who are doing 3D computer models.
• If using a PowerPoint, keep the following in mind:
o Six lines per slide.
o Six word per line
o Be visual. Don’t write the word house, instead draw a picture of a house.
o Use no more than 2-3 colors on a single visual.
o With every visual convey a single idea and don’t try to put several ideas on one slide.
o Change visuals every minute or less or turn off the projector.
o Typefaces – use a max of two typefaces per slide. Use the same typefaces throughout your presentation.
o Upper case. Don use all uppercase because it is hard to read.
o Don’t use numbers on a slide if possible. Numbers rank items and cause priority to be given.
o Make it readable. To determine this, hold the slide one foot away from yourself and see if you can read it. If so, the audience should be able to read it when projected.
o Background contrast. Use a good contrast between your background and the words on your slides. Remember that 40 – 50% of men are color blind to some degree with shades of red, brown, and green.
• Practice at least two times before you go to give your presentation.
Setting up the room: (If you are able to control this aspect)
• If you have a small enough group, consider a U shape so everyone can see each other. This fosters more communication.
• Make sure each person has plenty of room to move around, side to side, and back. A rule of thumb is 3’ per person side to side. The longer the presentation the more room people need.
• Make sure everyone has water nearby. When presenting some people get a dry throat and if they don’t have access to water it can lead to disaster.
• Make sure the room temperature is comfortable for everyone. Conference rooms tend to be very cold if not regulated.
Before You Go In For Your Presentation:
• Make sure everyone turns off all cell phones and pagers.
• Make sure no one has gum in their mouth.
• Remind everyone to have fun and be relaxed. There will be another day.
During The Presentation:
• Have a clear and concise opening. Whoever does the opening can tell the owner who you brought and why you brought them but don’t get excited and tell what each member is about to talk about. Draw them in as best you can. Avoid using non-words like “uh”. Remember the first minute you are being sized up by the audience to determine if this is going to be worthwhile and interesting. The next three minutes they are trying to determine if their initial assessment is correct.
• Each team member should connect with the owner when speaking. The owner is trying to determine which team is the best fit for this project.
• If the owner asks a question that your team can’t answer use the 24 hour rule… tell him you don’t have that answer right now but you will get it to him before this time tomorrow.
• If the owner asks your superintendent a question that your project manager should answer, the superintendent should just look at the project manager and say his first name, and the pm can then answer it.
• You should have an extra person sitting behind your team who is taking notes based on any reactions from the owner. At the end of the presentation you should get that list and ask the owner if they had a comment about that particular subject.
• It is usually a good idea to have a leave behind to give the owner. The leave behind can be a summary of your presentation or PowerPoint that is spiral bound and not just stapled. The look and feel of your leave behind also sends a message about your firm.
• At the end of the presentation, ask when you should follow up or when they will make a decision of you don’t already know. Be aware you could get caught in a negotiating position after the presentation if the owner decides to do that. Always know how low you are willing to go on a particular project and don’t get emotionally involved.
• When closing your presentation, always ask for their business!