AIA Practice Management Digest – March 2018


Presentation strategies

Connecting with potential clients to increase your chances of closing the deal


Letter from the editor

By Seth Anderson, AIA

Seth Anderson

Anyone that has submitted a proposal and been shortlisted for an in-person interview knows that in order to close the deal, you need a strong presentation strategy. After all, it feels good to make it past the first hurdle, but there is no prize for second place. I have personally experienced the excitement of making it to the interview round, only to later feel disappointment from not making the final cut. But I've also learned how to become a better presenter from these failures, including not letting my desire to give a professional presentation diminish my outward enthusiasm for the client's project. Special thanks to Karen Courtney, CMO at Fanning Howey for helping me to compile the articles for this edition of the Digest.

Bryan Grey and Jeff Echols, Assoc. AIA, of Revenue Path Group, encourage presenters to engage with their audience by making an emotional connection in their article "How to Stop Losing Projects That Should be Yours." During that presentation, it's likely you'll want to present some examples of your work or present information about your approach to their project. However, we've all sat through PowerPoint presentations that clearly miss the mark. Bill Schmalz, FAIA tackles the well-known problem in "Why PowerPoint Doesn't Have To Suck: 10 Tips for Better Presentations".

While not strictly on the topic of presentation strategies for interviews, Rich Friedman of Friedman & Partners brings us two articles about the way in which architecture firms present themselves to a larger audience. In "This is not your typical architecture firm, and that's by design", Rich presents the case study of a firm that doubled down on a single project type and found a way to better serve that client. We also need to remember our online presentation to prospective clients. In "Lessons Learned from Building a New Website", Rich shares some insightful tips for ensuring your website communicates the right message about your firm.

Be sure to also check out some of the other suggestions available online in the Related Resources section below. I personally found these short pieces to be helpful in making me a stronger presenter. What lessons have you learned from your own successes and failures? Share your stories with us on the KnowledgeNet Discussion Board or our LinkedIn Group.



How to stop losing projects that should be yours
By Bryan Gray, CEO of Revenue Path Group & Jeff Echols, Assoc. AIA

Have you ever wondered why you keep hearing "It was close" when you lose a bid? To start winning more projects, harness the process, speed and emotion that drive decisions, and connect with your audience at a visceral level!

Why PowerPoint doesn't have to suck: 10 tips for better presentations
By Bill Schmalz, FAIA

We've all sat through PowerPoint presentations that clearly miss the mark. However, thinking like a spectator can help you craft a better, more-engaging presentation. Here are 10 tips to help make your presentation stronger, and keep the focus on your content.

This is not your typical architecture firm, and that's by design
By Rich Friedman

When a downturn strikes, it can be tempting to take whatever work is available to keep the doors open. One firm made a bolder choice: to double down on serving one client type. As a result, the firm not only survived the downturn, it grew exponentially during the lean years.

Lessons learned from building a new website
By Rich Friedman

Like many firms, our web site has been slow to keep up with our evolved and expanding service offerings. It was time for a reboot. We learned a lot in developing our new website, so here we offer five takeaways that you can put to work in your own firm's marketing efforts.


Bonus article: Five reasons your interview prep fails – and what to do about it (Published May 2018)
By Dean Hyers and Pete Machalek of SagePresence

To deliver a winning shortlist presentation, you need a team on the same page of strategy and execution, along with a clear message delivered with personality and conviction. Most teams will face these 5 problems when preparing for the interview—but these strategies will move your team past them.


Further reading and resources



Contribute to the Digest

The next issue of the Practice Management Digest will investigate technology trends, and how they impact practice. We are also always looking for topics that you would like to see addressed in an edition of the Digest. If you have topics related to practice management that you'd like explored or articles you would like us to consider, please contact our new PM Digest Editor, Sara Boyer, AIA, at