How to stop people from sabotaging you pitch

It’s interesting to watch team dynamics when coaching bid presentation teams. Especially when the team has come together having previously not known each other. Psychologist Bruce Tuckman came up with the phrase “forming, storming, norming, and performing”, which pretty much describes what we see in bid presentation teams.  In the storming phase people start to push against the boundaries established in the forming stage and start to belittle each other as they jockey for position.

I’ve seen this belittling present itself when a senior member told a less experienced and nervous team member that their presentation style was boring. And another senior team member telling two other presenters, two days before a major $400million bid that if they presented “like that” the team was stuffed!

In both these situations the senior members were deflecting – denying their own failings and projecting them onto someone else.

Here’s three things you can do to prevent this from happening.

  1. Set the ground rules up front for feedback and that you as the facilitator will control (not dominate) that process. Make sure everyone knows there is a right time and place for giving feedback.
  2. Make sure everyone uses the aware, impact, change model. For example, rather than saying ”you’re boring”, say “are you aware that when you read from your notes the impact is you stop engaging the audience, you can change that by making sure you use more eye contact when you speak which will give you more energy.”
  3.  If people start to deflect call them on it quickly. Preferably one on one.

So watch out for the any narcissistic behaviour because it can undermine what should be the celebration of a lot of hard work.

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