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Architecture, Bidding, Constructors, Facilities Management, Presentation Tips, Winning New Business

Bidding – Dealing with your weaknesses

Some thoughts today on the negatives. We all have weaknesses, but constantly we are faced by people who are very, very good at what they do, but are allowing their weaknesses to dominate their thoughts.

When bidding new projects we find that people do two things:

1. Underestimate how good they are

2. Overestimate the negatives

Now this is interesting, because as human beings, to put it bluntly, we tend to think we’re great. We pretty much all think we’re above average at pretty much everything… So why when we sit in a room with professionals are they less confident than they should be?

I’m really not sure, and I’d love to hear what people think.

But, the good news is, there is a cure.

The cure is very simple and very effective.

1. Focus on how good you are

2. Deal with the negatives

Both of these are perfectly illustrated by something that happened to me a while ago. We were bidding an Academy school. The project director, the man who would be personally responsible for the construction, kept saying, “But I’ve never built an Academy before.”

Eventually we got round to focussing on his part of the presentation and he said it again. Plainly this bothered him – a lot.

“So have you built any other types of educational buildings?” I asked.

“Yes, a couple of Primaries, a Secondary, an FE college and 2 university buildings.”

“But that’s fantastic!” someone said. And it was.

Remind yourself what you’re good at. Ignore the problems along the way. No one cares or is interested.

Now focus on the negatives you see as important.
You don’t want to do this. We understand. People will worry about something constantly but rationally focus on it? Not so much.

Maybe you lack experience? Maybe this project is bigger than anything you’ve done before? Now think your way through that and find an honest, positive response.

So if my builder was asked, “How many Academies have you built?” (he wasn’t, but if he had been) he would have said. “I’ve never built an Academy, but I have built 2 Primaries……. and I’m really looking forward to using all that experience on this project, and learning what is unique about an Academy.”


Do the work.  You will find that you have a great story to tell.
Remind yourselves what you’re good at and deal with the negatives.
If you do you will find they aren’t a problem.


About gristpresent

Presentation, Q&A and Engagement Coach. We help you win more business. Also BAFTA-winning film maker. See our new site www.grist.co.uk


3 thoughts on “Bidding – Dealing with your weaknesses

  1. An article with different vision of viewing things.Its true honesty and hard work always pays positive.

    Posted by Nishi | February 23, 2012, 12:01 pm
  2. Cliche, but…. “The harder I work, the luckier I get”

    Posted by gristpresent | February 24, 2012, 11:40 am
  3. So common amongst presenters. It’s that pesky internal critic always whispering in our ear!

    I wonder if there’s also a cultural element at play, with some cultures (Brits!) almost being raised to a state of modesty that leads to shying away from our strengths. Possibility?

    Posted by Peter | July 10, 2012, 6:19 pm

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