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You’re busy, I’m busy.  So I keep these blogs to five pithy paragraphs.  Thanks for taking an interest!

Public and Private Sector Contract Bidding.  Let’s face it: it sounds a bit complicated.  But it’s a subject that matters to a lot of businesspeople I met recently at a very useful morning organised by that wonderful team at the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce.  It was one of their Ride the Wave events, to encourage small businesses to think big.  It was a hot summer morning, and the room was packed.

I was delighted to have been asked to host the event, but there was a potential problem.  I’m not an expert in Public or Private Sector Contract Bidding, and would be introducing four guests who were.  My solution was to do what I do whenever I’m interviewing someone about something complicated for a TV news report.  My first question to each of them would be: how would you explain what you do to a child?

As this event was in front of an audience of fifty or so businesspeople, I took it a stage further by whipping out a photo (of two children, in fact — my nephews Mark, 7, and Ben, who’s 9).  This achieved two things.  It amused the audience (I know this because there were smiles and a ripple of laughter.)  And it helped prevent anyone in that audience — including me — from being bamboozled from the start.

One of the panellists then used a similar trick.  She was giving tips on how to make a bid for a contract stand out.  The first slide in her presentation wasn’t a bullet pointed list of tips.  It was a picture of a harassed looking woman with a vast pile of bids on a desk in front of her.  “This is Sally” she smiled. “She sifts though the bids.  You might want to picture Sally and her pile of bids when you’re figuring out why it matters to make yours stand out.”

So next time you’re trying to cut through the jargon, maybe have a think about what you’d say to Mark or Ben — and if your presentation’s looking a bit text heavy, remember Sally.  Those pictures made it all a lot more fun — and, I believe, a lot more effective.

If you know anyone who’d enjoy some team-building work on deadlines, quick-thinking and comfort-zone-breaching, give me a call to find out about my Newsroom Bootcamp workshops! 

Mark and Ben — explain it to them first.

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