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Many of us perform presentations in front of people in our daily work. It might be short or long presentations for a few or in front of many. We have been taught that to perform well as a presenter we should capture our listeners, keep them engaged and move them in a direction we want. If we are booked for an hour we should plan to finish of in five minutes short to open for questions and we should always keep a smile, trying to connect with the audience.
Now with all that knowledge in our head, how hard can it be to make a presentation for a board of directors or executive members of a Fortune 500 company? Presentation like presentation?
The answer is no.
I currently are reading a book called “Speaking up – Surviving executive presentations” by Fredrick Gilbert and I got an eye opener to why I have crashed in executive meetings in the past. I want to share some of the insight from the book on this topic to help you in the situations where I fell short.
Your executive audience
Executive directors and board memebers have lot of challenges they need to tend to. Their role in the company is to make decisions and take responsabillity for those they take. Your problem is unique for you but for them it will be just another decision in that day.
You; the presenter
Your role in an executive presentation is to give a clear picture of the problem, possible solutions, costs attached and a decision point. The shorter amount of time you can give this, the better you will look. There is no real time to speak about the weekend, weather or what’s on tv tonight. A thirty minute presentation done in five minutes is always preferred and the reason is simple. They all have meetings booked after you, they have other buisness, they have more important things to tend to.
Now you might wonder how to train these skills if you have not yet given an executive presentation or perhaps you have one planned. What can you do to prepare?
The elevator pitch challenge
This challenge is that all presentations you should do, you should practice to give them in the time it takes to take an elevator ride. If you can’t get your problem through and what decision is needed in that time you need to go back to plan your presentation. In these few minutes you need to give all the hard facts and leave out all the fuzzy thoughts and perhapses.
Facts, solutions, costs and decision. These are your priorities in an as short time span as possible.
Excel in the elevator pitch and you will be a master in giving executive presentations. Remember though, chances are still great you will get shoot down.
It’s buisness after all, nothing personal.