Society & Culture & Entertainment Writing

How to Prepare for an Oral Grant Presentation

    • 1). Ask the granting agency to give you the following information in preparation for your oral presentation: 1) how much time you're allotted, 2) whether this time includes a question-and-answer period, 3) whether you're permitted to use audiovisual aids (e.g., slides, PowerPoint presentation), and 4) whether it's okay to bring handouts.

    • 2). Use your agency's goals, mission statement, objectives, and vision as the base on which to build your oral presentation. Keep your objective in mind--e.g. landing a grant to educate kids. Supplement your philosophy with anecdotal material and financial data. Compose a draft of your talk using this timing formula: present one double-spaced page of information per two minutes of presentation time. Draft a long version of your presentation. Plan to adjust the content accordingly to suit the pace at which you talk.

    • 3). Begin your presentation text with a compelling story about an individual whose life was changed thanks to your agency's efforts. Follow with your appeal. Conclude with a summary. Sprinkle text with a one-line "message" that states what the grant dollars you seek will accomplish if you win the funds. Polish your text. Obtain feedback from people who are willing to be honest about the content.

    • 4). Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Achieve presentation balance. Practice looking away from the script and returning to it from time to time to anchor your talk. Write this note on every page of your script: "Make eye contact with the grant committee." Make that eye contact as frequently as you're able. Break up the presentation with audiovisual aids. As a general rule, insert 12 slides/screens per 20-minute presentation.

    • 5). Build creative transitions into your oral presentation to help listeners move from one subtopic to another with such phrases as: "Now that I've told you how the funds will be used," or "As you can see, we have the pieces, and here's how we'll complete the puzzle." Borrow the sage advice marketers have relied on for decades: "Tell your audience what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them."

    • 6). Arrive at the granting agency early on the day of your presentation. Wear business attire. Begin your talk the moment you get the nod, to respect time limits. Breathe. Acknowledge questions; be disclosing and forthright when you answer them. Leave behind handouts. Thank the grant committee for their consideration. It won't hurt to send a gracious follow-up thank you note.

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