Nine and a Half Tips for Presenting to C-Suite Executives
1. PRESENT THE CONCLUSIONS FIRST then give all the supporting data and analysis. At this level they want no slow buildup to a surprise conclusion.
2. KEEP THE PRESENTATION VERY SHORT because they have no time or inclination to sit through a long PowerPoint show.
3. DON’T TELL THEM WHAT TO DO. Remember who is in charge. Present the facts and your analysis but be careful to avoid saying things like “you should” or, much worse, “you must”.
4. BE READY TO DROP YOUR PREPARED PRESENTATION. They control the meeting and may interrupt you often to ask questions. Be ready to deliver the key message points in answers without using your slides.
5. HAVE DATA TO SUPPORT WHAT YOU SAY but don’t plan to show it unless asked. If they need it they will ask, but otherwise save time.
6. ANTICIPATE OBJECTIONS and prepare responses. If you know one person in the room is hostile try to minimize that hostility before the presentation.
7. ALWAYS PLAN FOR LESS TIME THAN PROMISED. If you were told ten minutes and three slides plan for having five minutes and one slide.
8. EVANGELIZE YOUR MESSAGE IN ADVANCE. Nobody marries an idea the first time they hear it. Make sure at least some of the audience is informed about what you are going to say.
9. DON’T EXPECT A DECISION WHILE YOU ARE THERE. There will be other factors to be considered and it is their job to decide; yours is to provide information.
9.5 CULTURE IS IMPORTANT TOO. All of this advice works pretty much everywhere, but cultural differences will have an impact. For example, some managers can take direct suggestions; some would find it deeply offensive; most are in the middle and just find it annoying.
Workshops on Speaking and Influencing
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