Author’s Note: If you missed Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 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.
You’ve made your “connection”. You have a precise message you need to get across. You’ve practiced and rehearsed your proposal. Now, it’s time to finally perform. Getting to this point is no small feat; however, you can’t falter now. This is the step that can ultimately determine whether your proposal will come to fruition or take a step backwards.
Part 4 of 5
The fourth question to ask yourself is: Do I Really Believe in What I am Presenting?
Be completely engaged. You need to believe in what you are presenting. It’s not enough to just “sell” it. If you aren’t excited about your idea, no one else will be either.
A few years ago, a man approached me on an airplane with an innovative idea regarding U.S. Defense. He knew who I was and decided to use this opportunity to make a connection. He was confident, knowledgeable and truly believed in his idea. Because he was prepared, insightful, and authentic in sharing his idea with me, I ultimately took his request to the committee. Shortly after that, he was invited to present in front of that particular committee in Washington D.C.
Just to give you a little background on this gentleman: he did not come from one of the big defense contractors. He didn’t have the “name recognition” some believe is necessary in order to be heard by Congress. Instead, he was simply passionate and professional in his delivery, both on the airplane with me and in his proposal to the committee. His proposal was ultimately accepted.
This success story is an excellent example of what can happen if you follow all of the prior steps up to this point. However, I’ve seen the other side of the above situation too. People finally get their shot to present in front of a committee and waste the opportunity. I’ve seen people turn into robots during their presentation, or they mumble statements and veer off topic. Just to reiterate this point one more time – thousands of proposals are sent to members of Congress. Hundreds of meetings are held. You have to stand out during your presentation. When you practice your pitch, make sure your authentic belief of what you are presenting shines through.