TIME and the HUMAN FACTOR are the only two winning elements of a good pitch.

Honestly how many of you can say you put as much effort into the tender as you did your bid submission?

You won’t be surprised to learn that more effort is put in to the technical submission than the interview itself. It costs upwards of £25k to put together a good pitch or bid submission, and all of this can be wasted on the basis that someone in your team wasn’t smiling!

Ludicrous, ridiculous I hear you say … but let me give you some example feedback:

“We were first at bid submission stage but we dropped to third at interview because there was no director, we lacked energy and hadn’t worked together as a team

What do you need to pitch well?


To prepare for any tender interview with a large bid team (4+) you need around 4-6 weeks. Your presentation team needs time to prepare, research and rehearse.

Research shows that Winston Churchill spent around 6-8 hours preparing for a 40 minute speech. Steve Jobs, apparently took weeks and months to prepare his visionary speeches. These were consummate presenters! So why do we expect to bring together 4-6 consultants, main and sub-contractors and assume they will just gel and give the best pitch they have ever delivered?

You have got to the interview on the basis of your team’s technical skill and the whole purpose of the pitch interview is to see whether you have an ability to work together as a team, more importantly as part of their team.


Within seconds of walking into a room the interview panel have made their mind up about you. Humans trust, judge and listen with their eyes. This is where all your non-verbal skills come in.

93% of your message at the interview is going in through your body language and tone of voice!

Good presenters understand the importance of posture, eye contact, lively expression through a good use gestures. Well rehearsed teams show all of this and more.

One individual in your team can tip it either way – you can win or lose on just one team member not engaging all their non-verbal skills.

Other example feedback quotes:

“The presenters were not integrated. Some involvement is required from all team members to help give an understanding of why they are there, what they will bring.”

“Lack of smiling or enthusiasm for the project”

“The team did not know the project, only one member of team knew the job fully.”

The last quote – the team clearly didn’t want the project.

The interview is just two hours long and in that time all you have to do is win it! If TIME is one of the critical success factors, then taking Churchill’s ratios – you will need at least 16 hours just for rehearsal.

Then add to this the research and preparation of materials – you need at least 4-6 weeks to prepare – not 4-6 hours! And for the Human Factor, practice, practice practice.