How to Present a Project Proposal

When presenting a project proposal there are common mistakes to avoid and best practices to adhere to, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, explains.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

what to do and what not to do when presenting a project proposal

In Review: How to Present a Project Proposal

The project proposal is a proposed approach to solve a problem or exploit an opportunity, noted Jennifer. It’s used at project kickoff and coordinates resources.

When writing the project proposal, Jennifer outlines the form (and encouraged you to use one of the many templates out there), which can be broken down into executive summary, background and proposal.

But it’s the presentation that she focused on, and cautioned against these traps:

software for presenting projects
  • Lacking preparation and confidence
  • Asking the sponsor for a solution
  • Providing too many options
  • Not providing next steps

What you want to do is as follows:

  • Start with the end in mind
  • Know who your presenting to and what style they respond to
  • Set a vision
  • Define success criteria
  • Get buy-in and sign-off immediately
  • Make sure authorized approvers are there

Pro-Tip: One thing to remember when writing and presenting the proposal is the power of storytelling to promote your idea. So, when writing the proposal uses the tools of storytelling: the problem is the villain, the action is your proposed project plan, and you get to be the hero.

Thanks for watching!


Today we’re talking about how to present a project proposal. With that, I wanna cover some traps and best practices, but before I do, I wanna review what a project proposal is, when we use it, and a few reminders about writing one.

So what is a project proposal? It presents a proposed approach to solve a problem or sees an opportunity. It also outlines the implications if it’s not done.

So when do we use it? We use it at the project kick-off, and it’s used to coordinate resources, whether they’re human resources or material resources, task, equipment, raw materials that are needed in a specific timeframe.

So a few reminders about when we write one. First of all, I recommend using a template. There are several things that you generally include in the proposal, and here are the three things. The executive summary, the background, and the proposal.

So in the background, you’re including a little bit about the history, the problem or the opportunity, the requirements and the solution that you’re proposing.

The proposal includes the vision and goals, deliverables, timeframe, resources, the budget ownership as well as the reporting, including the issues and risk as well as the implications.

And I also wanna point out the success criteria and the authorization required. So let’s review a few of the traps. I like to call them the lacks.

The lack of preparation. You wanna be sure to prepare for presenting. You wanna ensure that you have everything written out, that you have it documented, the data that you need, and a real, clear, concise solution that you’re presenting.

You also want to ensure that you have the confidence. You’re presenting to a group of people who are looking to you for the solution to either, again, a problem or an opportunity.

Also the lack of time. You wanna be sure to practice and prepare so that you have enough time. You don’t wanna wait to the end and run out of time where maybe you haven’t been able to leave with the approvals or the signoffs that you need.

Also, another trap can be asking the sponsor for the solution. It’s different than asking for a consensus or input or feedback, but you don’t want to be asking them to provide the solution. That’s what they’re looking for you to present.

Also, another trap is providing too many options. If you provide too many options, it could be another point of confusion and then leave with no decision. Also another trap is leaving the people that you’re presenting to hanging without providing the next steps.

Let’s talk about the best practices. So first of all, start with the end in mind. At the end of your presentation, what would you have them do?

Know who is going to be present and what their styles are. Know if they’re more strategic in their thinking or more analytical. Know if they’re more visual or need more data, and be sure to have that in your presentation.

Also, set a vision for them. Let them know what it’s going to look like in the end after this solution has been implemented.

Also, define your success criteria. Be very clear on what you need or what this project needs to succeed.

Also, get the buy-in and sign off then and there. If the people who are present leave and they get in their day and maybe time goes by, they’re going to forget what was said, what was agreed to, and a few specifics.

You also wanna ensure that the authorized approvers or signors are present so that you can get the signature then and there.

If you need a tool that can help you manage and track your project proposal presentation, then sign up for our software now at

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