Bringing senior leaders together for strategy away days (September 2019)
The day was great for highlighting areas for improvement for teams in the business.
Very useful day. Team thoughts are useful.
Excellent facilitator. Great at bringing key points for discussion.
It's important to get everyone's opinion.
Preparing technical responses for bids (June 2019)
Somebody commented today that the technical document was the best they had ever read. I kid you not, it was fantastic! It's not often that one can say that about technical documents in bids.
- Head of Bidding (Transport), telent Technology Services
Reviewing responses to increase impact and promote benefits (April 2019)
We approached Mercury quite late in our bid preparation when a lot of the submission had already been drafted. But despite the tight timescales, Holger reviewed all our work and returned edited and annotated versions within 24 hours, sometimes overnight. The versions he returned had more clarity, some good suggestions for improvements and reduced text, which is always helpful these days when clients give a page or word limit. We have already approached Holger for assistance on another submission, which is reaping similar benefits.
- Pre-Construction Manager, Kier Construction I Eastern
Training teams in how to develop and write impactful proposals (February 2019)
This was a fresh look at how our bids are presented, and will lead to a full review of how to get the best value from every word within our tenders.
All material was easy to understand.
This will help with my confidence moving forward and applying myself to the tender process.
Really informative event that ran at a good pace.
The training covered all the points we required, and more.
All the attendees learned new skills.
It was explained very well and in detail, which was easy to follow.
Developing bid strategy and powerful responses for joint ventures (November 2018)
Mercury Communication & Strategy brings assured, clear support for our major bids. With focused, effective endeavour, we continue to benefit from Holger’s vast experience and skill. He's a valued and trusted member of our joint venture teams.
Supporting project managers to secure NHS frameworks (March 2018)
Just a quick note to say a massive THANK YOU as we secured a place on the NHS framework. We've been appointed for architecture, quantity surveying, project management, environmental, building surveying, fire, health and safety, and ancillary services. There's no doubt we couldn't have done it without you, so thank you again!
Working with design specialists to shape bid strategy (December 2017)
We have engaged Holger to assist with bid workshops over the past year. His structured and insightful approach has helped galvanise our thoughts and direction in multidisciplinary bids. Holger has helped to direct our bid teams, ensuring they remain equally focused on the key issues as well as the subtext and subtle messages that clients often seek in submissions. Holger has an engaging style and keeps teams motivated and enthused. Value is often driven through his follow-up sessions and, when time is more limited, Holger is a very effective editor of draft documents, helping to polish these into final submissions. Holger’s expert industry knowledge and ability to cut to the key issues means we will always consider bringing him into our team when the appropriate opportunity is presented.
Supporting long-term investment bids (June 2017)
Feedback from the client on our interim submission was very positive - particularly the design section where I know you put in a lot of work. Thank you!
Creating engaging proposals, starting with limited information (March 2017)
Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of working with Holger on a variety of bids. I believe Holger's understanding, responsiveness and ability to work well with limited information make him among the best bid writers in our industry. This is not to mention his excellent command of the English language! I look forward to working with him again in the future.
Creating bids that reflect clients' most important drivers (February 2017)
Baker Hicks engaged with Holger following recommendations from our sister company. This was for our first international tender. He brought insights into our expertise, the project requirements and customer's needs that we had overlooked, and delivered a concise and professional submission document. I look forward to working closely with Holger and his team in the future.
Proposal documents for frameworks (February 2017)
AIS engaged Holger to create a proposal for our professional services for one of our most significant clients. Holger developed the template, engaging content, and meaningful graphics to portray AIS’ experience and unsurpassed track record. This was a big deal for us, so we needed a bid manager and writer with the deepest experience of producing proposals in a short time to a very high quality. Holger lived up to his reputation for excellent work. He worked with our subject specialists to create compelling content for a proposal that we were proud to submit. It was a game changer for us, and we won’t hesitate to call on Holger again.
Re-bidding for major contracts (January 2017)
I have had nothing but compliments about your work and the approach you took to supporting the team. We have benefited enormously from working with you. I cannot imagine that Mark's team would want to do that type of tender without you in future. Thank you for your time, effort and patience (your skill was never in doubt).
Training for presenting with impact (October 2016)
It was good to hear that I'm not the only one who worries about anxiety when it comes to giving presentation to people I haven't met before. I've received some work-based presentation skills training in the past, but I really liked it when you mentioned two particular points:
- Don't separate yourself from the group of people to whom you're presenting.
- You're not presenting your slides. You are the presentation, and the slides are only there as visual help.
I felt a sudden change in the room when I heard those comments. I'll revisit your slides when I prepare my future presentations.
Facilitating effective bid workshops (September 2016)
Atkins called Holger in initially to lead a workshop on bid management, after which he provided a very responsive service to help us develop concise answers to bid questions. He challenged us by probing our experience and how it would help our client, and he edited our responses to ensure the most efficient use of word limits. We were pleased to have had Holger working alongside our bid team, and we look forward to future opportunities to engage his experience of writing proposals.
Supporting bids for project management consultants (June 2016)
Oander engaged with Holger to provide bid writing and presentation support on one of our largest-ever fee proposals and bids. Holger immersed himself within the team and provided fantastic guidance, support and content to ensure our bid was of the best possible quality, ensuring the client was fully aware of the message and benefits of engaging with us. Holger was professional, conscientious and a team player, and we look forward to continuing working with him on his next bid with us.
Powerful presentations to secure new jobs (February 2016)
I am a student of Construction Project Management at the University of Westminster, and I attended Dr. Ancell's module at which you spoke about how to create effective presentations. I applied a couple of months ago for a position offered by one of the world's leading project development and construction companies. During the final assessment day, I had to present to a panel of assessors, explaining how I would contribute to supporting the company's strategy. I prepared my presentation following your suggestions, and I kept in mind your advice regarding body language. I am very happy to let you know that I have been successful, and the company offered me the position. This is in part thanks to your advice, explaining so clearly the ways a presentation should be prepared. You gave me the input with which to practise, and to read more about this topic. Thank you!
Training businesses in effective bid strategies (October 2015)
- "Excellent presentation that provided a fresh perspective on bid writing and encouraged a more considered approach, delivered in a very accessible way" Tamsin Pickerall, Terracotta and Faience Manager
- "Holger's insightful and interactive delivery made the tender process clearer, and provided useful tools for any tender or marketing communications in the future" Jonathan Baker, Marketing Assistant
Supporting charitable organisations to secure funding (October 2015)
The charity, SAFE!, has recently been successful in bidding for our largest-ever contract to deliver services to young victims of crime across the Thames Valley, extending our services across a much broader geographic scope than before. As a small organisation, going through the tendering exercise was a new and challenging process, so we approached Jonathan Lane (SR Consulting) and Holger Garden (Mercury Communication & Strategy) for advice. As SAFE!’s Chair of Trustees, I can’t praise Jonathan and Holger highly enough. From the outset, it was clear that we would benefit from Holger’s considerable expertise in the area of contract bidding and writing, and Jonathan’s extensive knowledge of the charitable, statutory and criminal justice sectors. Despite tight timescales and a large volume of work, they responded swiftly to each of our queries and read through our tender documents, providing detailed feedback on every part of our bid, offering lots of advice on how to promote our charity in the most positive light, always with our client’s requirements in mind. We are immensely grateful to Jonathan and Holger for their support at a pivotal time in our charity’s journey.
Facilitating business strategy workshops (September 2015)
- "A very informative day"
- "It was a very constructive session, which was made easy by Holger"
- "The day was very well structured and well presented"
- "Extremely well delivered day, enjoyable and practical"
- "DISC profiling proved to be surprisingly accurate"
- "Presentation and delivery done very well"
What score do you think today’s event deserves (out of 10)?
- 8 from one respondent
- 9 from six respondents
- 10 from five respondents
Writing to make an impact (September 2015)
In our JV with Sisk, we asked Holger to step in to help write a detailed methodology for junction realignment works in a major highway infrastructure bid. This required marshalling many technical and management aspects into a coherent bid response that conveyed our winning messages with impact. We were very pleased with how fast Holger brought himself up to speed with the project, and with the structure and clarity of the material he produced.
Writing for major transport infrastructure bids ( August 2015)
We required writing support to develop a detailed methodology for a major rail infrastructure bid. Holger assimilated various source information and created a clear, structured draft of the bid response, targeting our client’s key drivers to show how our design and programme phasing would deliver an efficient and practical solution. The project challenges were particularly complicated because the scheme was to be delivered during live operation of the railway, within an environment including other major transport stakeholders. We were very pleased with Holger’s punctual inputs and dedication to our bid, and would gladly use Mercury Communication & Strategy again.
Representing industry development (July 2015)
As a member of the CIOB’s Innovation and Research (I&R) Panel, Holger contributes informed guidance for our I&R activities, based on his long experience of the construction industry. We promote improved ways of working and taking advantage of research and development outputs from industry and academia. Holger’s contributions are invaluable in I&R Panel meetings and as a judge in our annual I&R Awards and research fund schemes. He co-edited our I&R Strategy, which shapes our activities to ensure they remain effective and relevant. I’m proud to lead the CIOB’s programme of I&R work, and am proud that Holger’s in the team.
Developing compelling pre-qualifications and presentations (March 2015)
Mercury Communication & Strategy supported us in two significant prequalification submissions and a presentation to major retail clients. Mercury’s assistance helped us to articulate our key messages, ensuring our expertise and experience were portrayed in impactful and concise answers to the clients’ questions. Mercury’s service was provided by Holger, who made sure he asked us all the right questions to understand our business and provide evidence-based answers for our submission. He also developed a presentation template and some key slides for us, for use in a post-submission interview with our client. The assessment team commented that they were very impressed with our presentation, particularly how the presentation design made them feel we were a part of their team. We are delighted with Mercury’s support and we will have no hesitation in calling on Holger again.
Powerful writing with clear messages (January 2015)
I was the Bid Manager for our joint venture collaboration with Ferrovial Agroman, leading our submission to deliver a section of a major tunnel sewer and associated infrastructure in London. We appointed Mercury Communication & Strategy Ltd to provide professional bid writing services, for which Holger was embedded in our team. The submission was extensive and we needed Holger to work on many fronts with numerous subject matter experts. I was very impressed with the way he captured the key elements of our joint venture’s capability for a project of this magnitude. He presented them using a powerful writing style and clear messages. This is a challenge when so many technical responses have to be presented concisely and address specific issues clearly. I will have no hesitation in calling on Holger for future assignments and I am glad to recommend his work to others.
Providing training for excellent bids (November 2014)
What difference will today’s event make to your work and how you bid?
- “Approach to working with voluntary organisations will be more informed and give better insight into what PCC will be looking for”
- “It will help enormously, especially the work around planning”
- “Allow more time and develop structure”
- “It’s good to have this at the forefront of my mind when I go into the process”
- “More focused writing”
- “Seeing possible ways of using the planning tools with consortium partners”
- “More planning, not just for bids”
- “Gives me confidence to bid”
- “Confirmation of the need to write more simply and with bigger impact”
- “Rather than launching into it, we can take a more organised approach”
- “Very constructive session. I think this will change my writing style substantially”
- “Cutting the waffle. Ensuring structured planning time”
- “Feel more confident re process of consortium bid writing. And the process described will facilitate relationship-building between potential consortium members”
How easy was it to understand the material presented today?
- “Easy! All good – very clear!”
- “Very easy”
- “Explained well and a lot of examples to look at”
- “It was very easy”
Is there anything overall you’d like to write that you won’t mind being used for our marketing?
- “Interesting delivery style”
- “A very useful workshop focusing on the key points to improve winning bids. Thank you very much for sharing your expertise and skills in such a generous way”
- “Very professional presentation”
- “Very clear delivery and very knowledgeable presenter”
- “A clear and precise, well presented workshop. Three hours well spent. A very good presenter”
- “Very well presented, great content and time well spent”
- “Precise and focused workshop”
- “Authoritative and engaging presentation”
Training for effective bidding (November 2014)
The Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner asked Holger Garden of Mercury Communication & Strategy Ltd and Jonathan Lane of SR Consulting Ltd to develop and deliver a specially designed workshop. The PCC wanted to help local voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations tender effectively for contracts it expects to award to provide a range of victim support services. We are in no doubt that the workshop proved an interesting, valuable and thought-provoking exercise that left delegates feeling more empowered to develop strong bids.
Running excellent training sessions for presentation skills (October 2014)
Thank you so much for last night. One of the students saw me and said she was positively raving about the class: how she'd been tired before she arrived and was now uplifted, excited and inspired by your course. She's now so enthusiastic; I wish you'd heard her! Last night was a big success, with lots of activity for the class. I know it's one of the most worthwhile parts of the module.
Writing strong bids quickly (July 2014)
Mercury supported our bid production for a major water and wastewater delivery programme. We worked to a short timescale to write the bid, for which Holger’s ability to write strong responses – quickly – was invaluable. He also edited numerous responses prepared by other alliance partners, ensuring concise, clear and impactful written material. I’m very pleased with Holger’s inputs to this important bid and I’m glad to recommend him as a capable and credible resource in the discipline of bid-writing.
Presenting effective feedback to facilitate funding decision-making (June 2014)
We called on Mercury Communication & Strategy to help us to format and redesign two significant documents that would have impact by presenting a powerful delivery to the reader. They were end-of-programme feedback reports to funding partners, so it was important that we submitted clear, concise and well-structured documents that would enable the funders to understand quickly how the money made a difference to the communities concerned, and where improvements in future programmes would bring further benefits. We had numerous facts and specific details but we needed support, in a short time, to turn these into clear reports that would be accessible to a wide audience. Holger stepped in with very little notice and produced both documents to an extremely high standard. We are delighted with the end result and we will certainly think of Mercury if we have such a requirement again.
Supporting major infrastructure bids (April 2014)
I was Bid Manager for one of our most significant submissions to a major infrastructure client. We required support from an experienced bid writer capable of creating clear, concise messages that clearly explained our unique offer. Holger provided this service to a very high quality. His inputs helped us to produce a bid that we were proud to submit to our client. He wrote much of the material from a standing start, quickly picking up the brief. He worked well with our subject matter experts to incorporate their detailed contributions, resulting in a single document with a consistent style. His service was professional, thorough and punctual. I am delighted to recommend Holger to anyone requiring effective bid support.
Coaching people starting new businesses (March 2014)
Over the course of our sessions, I found Holger’s coaching to be of immense benefit in helping me to identify for myself how I could move forward and enabling me to take control of my future career. ‘Benefit’ is, in fact, an understatement: I think it was pivotal. Each of our sessions enabled me to identify, and then take action steps to overcome, some barriers that I perceived as being in the way. Some barriers simply disappeared as a result of a session, others changed from being insurmountable and nerve-wracking to rather small. Every session left me with clear steps of what to do next in order of priority, and a time to aim for having done them. At the next session, we would then discuss how I got on and what worked for me, what I learned and how I could benefit even more from the experience. Holger is not only calm and professional but very understanding and approachable in his coaching style.
Creating effective promotional material (March 2014)
Ashfold appointed Mercury Communication & Strategy in March 2014 to develop a suite of marketing material for my start-up project management company. Holger developed a framework of promotional documents and authored the material to make it clear, readable and compelling. He understands the property and construction perspective but also knows how to write material that is accurate and engaging. He works in a dynamic and collaborative way and is very good at listening to his clients and developing ideas that appeal to the widest possible audience. I will not hesitate to call on Holger's business again when I need further material to help promote my business, and I am pleased to recommend him.
Leading effective interactive workshops (March 2014)
Holger delivered a fantastic interactive workshop at Creative Cumulus this morning. His style is very open, friendly and approachable, making people feel at ease to ask questions. He is very knowledgeable about what he does and I feel inspired to try out the tips he shared. I can highly recommend Holger to any Gold Club looking for an Expert Speaker.
Engaging stakeholders with compelling documents (January 2014)
I called in Mercury Communication & Strategy because I wanted to produce our next year’s business plan in a style that would really engage our stakeholders. Holger worked on the document for us and he didn’t disappoint! It’s an excellent demonstration of his ability to understand our messages, how we operate, the benefits we bring and the objectives we wanted to achieve from the plan. Our 2014-15 business plan promotes the essential business support services that we provide to members and it’s a document that I’m proud to present. I wouldn’t hesitate to call on Holger again for his writing and general presentation skills in the future.
Delivering quality proposals to win new work (December 2013)
Holger has produced several high-profile bid documents for us, often under very tight time pressure, and he’s never failed to deliver quality work. He combines an efficient use of written words with appropriate graphics to ensure key winning messages are made prominent and are presented with the impact and conviction that reflects the stature of the Sisk business. He’s quick to grasp what matters most in terms of presenting a compelling argument to a client and representative organisations involved in the assessment process, which is crucial in the bid-writing arena. He’s a dedicated professional, passionate about what he does, and he works tirelessly to achieve the end goal of a great submission. I’m delighted with the service Holger has provided via his Mercury business and I can recommend him with confidence to future clients.
Great training for presenting with impact (October 2013)
Your presenting and writing course was a big success. There was concentrated silence while you were talking and the room was alive at the break time, which is always a good sign - the buzz was definitely a positive sign. It was also interesting to note who asked the questions: some of them came from some of the shyer members of the group. I'd certainly be up for having you back.
Effective coaching (September 2013)
As a Coach, Holger is very approachable and non-judgemental, establishing excellent rapport. He is always positive and encouraging to work with, good at asking well-crafted questions that build on strengths and clarify next steps, and makes daunting things feel much more achievable. Working with Holger has been enormously helpful and enjoyable.
Sharing knowledge and providing motivation (August 2013)
Mercury Communication & Strategy helped me to think through the approach I should take to developing a proposal for a project to research the key success criteria for the engagement of multiple teams in child welfare provision. Multi-agency platforms present particular challenges, not least the sharing of knowledge and motivation of disparate teams to co-ordinate efforts. Mercury's experience in writing funding proposals and research strategies, and their understanding of knowledge sharing and motivation, were invaluable.
Providing clear direction (August 2013)
I have known Holger since my career in construction began. As a manager, he has all the qualities of an effective leader, providing clear direction and a relaxed working environment. As a Business Development Manager, he is quick to identify weaknesses in marketing strategies, driving improvement through innovative thinking and his enthusiasm to succeed and increase clients' turnover. I have found his advice on how to market and improve my own business invaluable and will continue to look for his input in the years to come. I believe that Holger has the skills to improve any business and would recommend his services to anyone seeking to increase turnover and win more work.
Confidence in strategic thinking (May 2013)
Holger shows clarity of thought, confidence in strategic thinking and excellent communication and analysis skills. These were essential characteristics in his development of an extensive programme of laboratory and computer-based investigations, as part of the UK’s largest research project in the field of advanced composite materials used for structural strengthening. He reported the findings and analyses in numerous written documents and presentations to industrial and academic audiences, all with clear and easy-to-understand formats and writing or presenting styles. His work culminated in his writing of a detailed thesis, two chapters of a book and several peer-reviewed journal papers. I am delighted to recommend his credentials and experience via Mercury Communication & Strategy.