Author’s Note: If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 of our Chairman’s Corner series last month, read it now before continuing on with this article. All five questions to ask yourself prior to making a proposal are pivotal to a successful pitch.

After setting up a meeting, you must be prepared to present and grab attention immediately. When creating a presentation, be sure that it is organized and maintains a logical flow. If you fail to do that, your message will get lost and any headway you have made will hindered.

Part 3 of 5

The third question to ask yourself is: Have I rehearsed and revised enough?

Odds are you won’t have more than a few minutes to present your idea, so rehearse and revise the presentation with a focus on delivering the most valuable details in the shortest amount of time. When I would hold proposal meetings, they were scheduled to last fifteen minutes. This fostered the delivery of clear, concise proposals.

Practice your presentation several times, both in private and in front of someone else. Omit any unnecessary detail. Make sure your message is clear and defined. If you are not prepared, it will immediately show. Practicing your pitch will also help you remain succinct. You only have a few minutes to set the stage and you want to leave some time for discussion if applicable.

Your opening sentence is crucial to success. If it doesn’t pique interest, losing the attention of the room is inevitable. Clearly state your message from the start, with enthusiasm and purpose. Quickly identify or relate the problem. Follow that up with your resolution or strategic plan to resolve the issue. Make sure to then highlight what success will look like when the matter has been settled.

It is also important to know your audience. Is the Member attending? Will the Chief of Staff or Legislative Director going to be there? Are additional staff members going to be present and/or professional committee staff? This will help you focus your presentation and align priorities.

Vigorous preparation will help you see success.