Note: Because this course is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
Skill Level Intermediate
- If you've been tapped to make a presentation to the executive team, it's normal to feel some anxiety. The key is how you prepare for the opportunity. Here are five strategies you can use to knock it out of the park. First, know your stuff inside and out. Do your homework, and collect compelling data. Be sure you can explain how your project or initiative is designed to solve the executive's most pressing problems or help them meet their goals like increasing revenue, expanding market share, or cutting costs. Connect those dots to make sure they understand why your proposal matters, and prepare in advance for their toughest questions. Second, use the pyramid principle, sometimes called the answer first method to prepare your presentations. Executives are extremely busy, always in a hurry. To be successful, we have to get to the point and avoid getting bogged down with too many detail. You need enough to prove your point without crossing the line into information overload. It's a delicate balance. The pyramid principle was developed by a woman named Barbara Minto. She explains that executives think top down, so she advocates starting presentations with your main point or recommendation. Give them the bottom line right up front. Then summarize your supporting arguments in a cascading fashion. According to Minto, this format taps directly into the way executives' brains work and allows them to process your recommendation more quickly and more effectively. Third, seek feedback in advance. Schedule a meeting with one or two of the executives to preview your message. This will help you get a better sense of what's important to the audience, identify any potential landmines, and gain some support upfront. Once your presentation is refined with that input, be sure to practice extensively. Fourth, be strategic about your visuals. That means being intentional about your grooming and attire. Show up looking put together, commanding and confident. It also applies to your presentation materials, like your deck and your handouts. They need to be concise, pristine, and easy to read. Everything about this meeting needs to look buttoned up and polished. Fifth, present with energy and authentic passion. Executives want to know you care about the topic. Pay close attention to your body language and your eye contact. Use a strong and varied tone of voice. Most of all, let your natural enthusiasm shine through. When you get a chance to make a presentation to the executive team, follow these strategies so you can use this opportunity to showcase your hard-earned skills.