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"You can win or lose in Orals!"

I’ve participated in and coached oral presentations over the past twenty years. The most profound qualities I have learned from those coaching experiences are that a coach must have an appreciation for the anatomy of the game; then plan, prepare, and practice to foster excellence within the team and ensure high percentages of wins. Elite coaches must know the mechanics of the game and plan to execute within its boundaries. They must understand each player and prepare them for their role or position on the team. The coach must develop the team’s dynamics, practicing the team such that their performance is consistent and automatic.  Finally, a highly effective coach has a game plan; at game time, execute the game plan, and there are very little surprises.   

Here is a 59 minute full webinar on his entire process that Mike presented to GSA's PSHC Industry Partners

Lets discuss about some of the tools we have developed to support the Coaching of individual speakers and the entire team; looking at two of the most valuable tools we employ. First is the Slide Assignment and Time Tracking sheet. The tracker is a spreadsheet (Excel or Google), and each row will represent a specific slide. We capture the Slide Title, Presenter, and budgeted time for that specific slide. We work with the presenter/speaker and their backup presenter to refine the format and contents of the slide and how much time it should take to present the material. The actual time is captured during rehearsals. We are working with the entire team to present all slides within the time box the government has budgeted for the entire Orals Presentation.


Next is the Speaker Script Book, which aligns with the Slide Assignment and Time Tracking sheet. Every slide is represented, and presenters develop their own dialogue. As we go through rehearsals, we adjust the presentation for compliance and ensure that the speakers are comfortable with and consistent in their messaging. We can fine-tune the time presenting slides and manage graceful speaker-to-speaker transitions. We establish visual cues on the slides that assist the presenters in content coverage. Finally, all important proof points and benefit takeaways are rehearsed to ensure that they are delivered during the presentation. Simple, creative tools to support the process and take any presenter, introvert or extrovert, on the journey to become the “Extemporaneous Speaker.”


The coaching process is very straight-forward. We budget 70 hours for the entire process starting with an initial preparation to gain an understanding of the procurement, the role orals will play in the solicitation and getting to know the capture and presentation team. We move right into sectionals (working with individual presenters), slide assignments and scriptbook development. 

Rehearsals will consist of Script Rehearsals, Full Rehearsals (No Script) and Practice Question Rehearsals. We will wrap up with a final Dress Rehearsal.

Just Like we practiced!!  The Day of your presentation should have no surprises. With a retrospective following the presentation to debrief, talk about what went well, what needs improvement and action items. 

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