From Schedules to Scheduling Your Presentation: Oral Presentations Defined

By Lisa Mundt on May 6, 2024

From Schedules to Scheduling Your Presentation: Oral Presentations Defined 

Business Development Through Presentations

Federal oral presentations are becoming increasingly popular as part of the acquisition lifecycle. The winner of this procurement exercise is a team that can simplify complex requirements and gracefully connect the federal customer’s pain points to an offeror’s benefits—all while presenting the solution out loud. As more federal agencies embrace this approach, contractors need to understand the basics of oral presentations to maximize their competitive advantage.

Types of Presentations

If used as intended, federal oral presentations allow the government to hear directly from a potential vendor and their experts. Creating an interactive dialogue in this regard is meant to streamline the government’s evaluation process and timeline while also providing a more intimate look at the capabilities of project key personnel. Federal oral presentations may occur at any time in the acquisition process and can appear in a variety of forms, including but not limited to:

• Written Proposal + Oral Presentation: Perhaps the most common example, many Agencies will leverage oral presentations as part of a phased acquisition process. This means a standard written narrative will serve as a down select method, thereby limiting the number of offerors who present to the Government.

• Prepared Slides in lieu of Written Proposal: In some instances, Agencies forgo a written proposal submission and instead ask for the oral presentation slides as the proposal response. The offeror will then present the pre-submitted slide deck.

• Problem Solving/Challenge Exercise: If a Government Contractor finds themselves pursuing an opportunity through a particularly innovative Agency, then they may need to prepare for a Challenge scenario. The Government will provide a scenario to the presenting group during their allotted time. The offeror’s group will have time to work together and develop their presentation response live in front of the Government. They will then have additional time to present. Offerors are evaluated on both of these components.

• Team Q&A and/or Project/Program Manager (PM) Q&A: In rare cases, Oral Presentations are limited to a Question/Answer function by either the whole presenting team or just the PM proposed for the contract. More commonly, a Q&A session occurs after the team presents.

Purpose of Presentations

Anecdotally, there are several reasons why the government would implement oral presentations as part of their acquisition strategy. Oral presentations are a great tool to evaluate a vendor’s expertise, test group chemistry, measure leadership ability, put you in a pressure cooker environment (to see how you react under stress), and determine if they want you as coworkers. Other benefits include cost and time savings on either side of the table.


With all this in mind, how do you maximize your competitive advantage regarding federal oral presentations? Presenting to the government requires more intention than a typical demonstration, and we regularly see federal contractors assume that if they know the subject matter, then there is nothing else to prepare.

However, oral presentations are not just a recitation of your own internalized knowledge – they are theater. Beyond an innate understanding of the material, there are presentation mechanisms you can employ to drive your point home to a contract win. Want to know what those tips and tricks are? Contact The Pulse to learn more about our federal oral presentation preparation and coaching services.

About our Best in GovCon Guest

Lisa Shea Mundt co-founded The Pulse of GovCon and is an experienced training facilitator on federal business development, proposal management, and oral presentation coaching. She has 13 years of experience in Federal Proposal Development and procurement trend analysis and reporting. She has touched more than 200 proposal efforts totaling billions of dollars in wins across a multitude of Government departments and agencies. Connect with her on LinkedIn or at