Tuesday 31 January 2017

Anne Farr – Rothera Group
Dr Jen Jenkins – Executive Function

Tenders: planning with your team, preparing your content, practicing your pitch – all key aspects to producing the perfect winning pitch. But have you considered the psychology behind a winning performance and some of the common mistakes made? In our latest Edinburgh session, Dr Jen Jenkins from Executive Function and Anne Farr from the Rothera Group provided attendees with some key insights into how to produce a winning tender pitch and how you can help your fee earners get into a winning mindset to deliver it.

Dr Jen Jenkins began the session by discussing the “Triune Brain” and the link between our emotions and memories (limbic system) with our ability to process situations rationally (Neocortex system). The key to maintaining full cognitive functioning stems from our ability to successfully manage the limbic and Neocortex systems. Finding equilibrium between these two systems will allow us to develop a “wise mind”.

One emotion we regularly experience in our working lives is stress and its ability to induce our brain’s threat state. This state can cause behavioural and emotional reactions such as avoiding situations or becoming problem focused. The emotions we experience have a direct impact on our thoughts, behaviours and physical state. Each process is linked to one another and is as important as the other. If we begin to think that we are going to perform poorly in a pitch presentation and won’t be able to answer any of the questions asked, chances are we won’t! As Henry Ford said, “think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right!”. Developing a positive mindset amongst our colleagues is key to achieving our goals and striving to win that pitch: which in turn stems from establishing the correct mood state. By empowering ourselves through our physical state and behaviours, this automatically transmits to our thoughts and emotions.

A great example highlighted by Jen was the “Power Pose” study carried out by Amy Cuddy, with a simple strategy to improve your ability to deal with stress, boost confidence and reduce anxiety – and it only takes a couple of minutes. By sitting or standing in a particular power pose our hormones levels are changed and we begin to feel more confident and less stressed. A well known power pose is the Wonder Woman – standing in this pose for 2-3 minutes either in the morning or just before that all important pitch can have a positive impact on your body language and give you that can-do attitude – try it for yourself and see how you feel!

When was the last time you stood up to make an important phone call? More often than not we are slumped over our desks for back-to-back conference call and this posture can affect our attitude. Try this simple tip with your colleagues – the next time one of your Partners needs to call the client you are pitching to, ask them to stand up when they’re on the phone. It will give them a sense of control.

The focus of the session then moved to how to produce the winning pitch, presented by Anne Farr from the Rothera Group. Your pitch document is finished and you have been invited to give a presentation. But what is needed to ensure your presentation stands out from the rest and is a success? How can you develop that unique relationship with your potential client?: 

  1. Recognise some of the key factors that can impact the content and delivery of your pitch such as time, your audience and planning to win. Recognising time pressures of both your team and your audience will allow you to prioritise the content included in your pitch presentation.
  2. It is essential to set time aside to practice your pitch – knowing how and what you are going to say will only boost your confidence and performance during the presentation.
  3. The more you can find out about your audience prior to the presentation the better – see if you can speak to the company to find out who will be assessing the pitch and if they would be free to speak to you. The worst that can happen is they say no!
  4. Make sure you engage with your audience – don’t simply talk at the individuals you are presenting to. Make them feel involved and adapt your content so it applies to them. Have you considered the roles of the panel? Anne spoke about the three kinds of people in the room – Economic (the person interested in cost and return on investment); Technical (the person who understands ‘how you do it’); and the end user (the person impacted by your project).
  5. Finally, develop a win theme and stick to it: a tender which represents you as a firm and makes you stand out.

You can find further information on Anne’s session at www.rotheragroup.com where you can sign-up to ‘Top Tendering Tips’, the ROI calculator and the Self audit questionnaire. You can also contact Anne directly at afarr@rotheragroup.com.

If you would like to follow up on Jen’s content on what tools and techniques are available to create the winning mindset and set yourself up for winning and success, performing under pressure, improving resilience or leading change, then you can contact Jen at info@executivefunction.co.uk or you can connect with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jen-jenkins-3a54764/.

Written by Heather Donald, Chiene + Tait