Cynics would have you believe that winning an Olympic bid is all about currying favour with as many members of the International Olympic Committee as possible.
But even the smoothest cocktail party schmoozer will get nowhere unless their city has a decent technical plan.
The IOC's evaluation commission has finished its inspection tour of the five cities battling to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Madrid, London, New York, Paris and Moscow can relax now, but they had better hope their sums added up, because a bad report could prove fatal.
The cities must answer a barrage of questions based on the 17 general areas they were asked to address in their candidate files.
Here is a layman's guide to what the inspection team wants to know.
Concept and legacy
What's your plan, why's it so special and what will your Games leave behind for future generations?
Political and economic climate and structure
Can we trust you to deliver the Games, no matter which political parties control national, regional and local government in 2012? Are all your financial guarantees in place, and does your population back the bid at both local and national level?
Can we be sure you will respect the Olympic Charter and fulfil all the responsibilities of being host city? Will any other events clash with the Games?
Will it be sunny in your city for the Games?
Customs and immigration formalities
Can you guarantee Olympic competitors and officials will not have any problems getting into your country for the Games?
Environment and meteorology
What are your plans to make sure your Olympics do not harm the environment? How clean is your air and drinking water, and will it be sunny for the Games?
Are you sure you can afford the Games? Show us guarantees that you can meet any shortfall and that you will stop your hoteliers hiking up room prices.
Who will your domestic sponsors be, and do you have adequate measures in place to combat ambush marketing? Can you reasonably expect to sell all tickets at those prices?
Sport and venues
Tell us the thinking behind your venue locations. Are you sure you can get all the building work done in time? Does your city have enough experience of staging big sporting events to handle the Games?
Convince us that your Paralympics will not just be an afterthought. Will you need any extra venues, and how will you adapt existing ones?
How will you make sure we don't spend any time sitting in traffic jams?
What will your athletes' village look like? Are the rooms big enough and will the village be put to good use when the Games are over?
Do you have sufficient expertise to set up an effective anti-doping programme? What hospital will you use to treat athletes, officials and spectators? Are you sure it could cope?
How will you deal with the risks posed by international terrorism, crime, civil disobedience and traffic problems. How many police and paramedics will there be if things go wrong?
Are your figures on hotel room numbers realistic? Where will you put us up, and where will the press and sponsors stay?
Can you prove your estimated journey times between venues are realistic? How will you make sure the athletes, spectators and us VIP's don't spend any time sitting in traffic jams. Can you afford to improve your transport infrastructure?
Can your telecommunications system cope with the huge demands of the Olympics?
How will you satisfy the needs of the world's media?
Olympism and culture
What format will the opening and closing ceremonies take? And the medal presentations? What cultural events will you stage, and what will you teach schoolchilden about the Olympic ideal.