As an employee, you always have to present something to the senior management or executives. Learning how to deliver a presentation to senior management might just be what gives you that opening and impact your career/business opportunity in/with that company.
Generally, presenting to senior management is one of the most challenging tasks that you will ever face. They are highly
impatient (busy) and will only listen to you if you can get their attention. They have a tight schedule, and you need to make it worth their time. If your ideas or presentation appeals to them, then they will give pay attention to you, else they might interrupt you and fire random questions at you.
One of the easiest ways to appeal to senior management is to get them to care about your presentation. There will be times where the management will not even care about your presentation or your ideas, so you need to make it relatable and appealing.
You must not give up an opportunity to present to senior management. You may be in this position because you have got amazing solutions to their problems or that you are talented.
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Why learn how to deliver a presentation to senior management?
As a professional or an entrepreneur, if you ever need to catch the attention of the management or executives to prove your worth, to sell your product or services, having the right presentation skills will benefit you.
As an employee, not everyone gets a chance to present to their seniors. Having excellent presentation skills will ensure that you receive the recognition you deserve. You may even climb up the ladder sooner than your peers just because of your presentation skillṣ.
Being a presenter makes you a better employee as you receive various feedback from the seniors, and you get a chance to work with them closely.
1. What is the purpose of the presentation?
If you are presenting to senior executives, it’s generally about pitching a new business idea, reporting about your department or work, sharing some valuable feedback with them or maybe even giving an interview.
If you are talented enough or you have some new business ideas that can help the company in any way, then the best way to showcase it to your executives is via a presentation.
Sometimes the executives want to know how well their department’s function, in such cases they may ask an employee from that department to give a presentation.
In some companies, to apply for a higher role or any role, they may ask to present yourself, or a case on how you would tackle the challenges that the person in that role would come to solve. A presentation can help the panel understand your worth to the company. You can prove to them that you are valuable to the company by displaying promising stats and experience.
2. What are the characteristics of the audience? What do they expect to hear?
You need to know your audience well for you to be able to present to them well. Your attendance for the presentation will generally consist of top-ranking officials of the company. They are usually very impatient and have very little time. They have more tasks at hand and can only give you a fraction of their time.
Such busy executives expect to hear solutions or details that are relevant to them. They cannot sit through a lengthy presentation that is a waste of their time. They expect vital points and various data or facts to support your presentation.
They also expect you to be clear about what you are presenting. If you get nervous during your presentation, then even the officials may not give any heed. You need to provide some time for the officials to ask questions after your presentation. They might have some questions and even some suggestions for your presentation, and you need to address them well.
3. What kind of data do I have to back up my speech?
Most of the professional presentations consist of various numbers and predictions that prove to the executives that your presentation is thorough. Generally, for a business idea or any pitch, you need to show some numbers so that the executives can go with your idea. It can be a number that shows some percentage increase in sales, costs that can be cut, and much more.
For such data, you need to do some sound research of your company as well as obtain some data from various reports and the internet. The data must be more realistic than a prediction. Such data must be supportive of your presentation and catch the eyes of your management.
In general, the data must be real and relevant to your presentation. They can be represented graphically to be more self-explanatory.
Most of all, showing that you took the time to learn the pain points of the organization, the critical challenges that those senior managers or executives you are presenting to are trying to overcome, and add insightful solutions to them as you go along your presentation, will win you huge points. Remember that!
4. What is my main call to action?
Once you prove that you are going to solve the problems of your company or make the company better, you need to explain how you will go about it.
You can present a summarized version of the steps of action and elaborate on them, if necessary. You need to talk about the problems that you are addressing and also propose a strategic plan to overcome them.
You need to make your presentation informative and intimidating (a sense of urgency helps) so that your executives act upon it and don’t disregard it as a waste of time.
You can show that your ideas have medium or long term gains even though there are some immediate losses. If your ideas are effective, then you can assure immediate benefits as well. You need to convince the audience that your ideas are important and useful.
5. How to drive the presentation home?
There are multiple ways to drive the presentation home. Giving a fantastic presentation is all about appealing to the audience in the right direction. If you can captivate their attention and keep them hooked onto your presentation, then you have been successful in your attempts.
- You need to start your presentation strong so that the executives listen to you from the beginning. You need to maintain the same enthusiasm and rapport throughout the presentation so that you don’t just start strong and let them down eventually.
- Before you begin, you can give a summary of the various sections of your presentation so that the executives know what they can expect in the next 10 – 15 minutes.
- If you can support your ideas and solutions with data(dashboards, graphs, statistics, etc.), then the executives tend to believe it more. If you can prove to the panel of executives that you can solve their problems or add value to the company, then they will give importance to you.
- For a successful presentation, you need to be prepared well and keep it simple. You need to stay confident throughout the presentation and give ample time to the executives to discuss and ask questions.
- The best structure for any successful presentation is an introduction, analysis, and presenting your solution backed with real data and predictions.
- The executives may interrupt your flow of presentation by asking to move to the next slide or to go back; in such cases, you must be flexible and continue your performance.
- Since they are a demanding audience, you may need to rehearse before your colleagues and make multiple changes to the presentation for your audience.
Having the right amount of presentation skills can help your career growth. You may receive the respect and recognition from your management, which will help you get better opportunities and roles.
Presenting to senior management is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you need to MAKE IT COUNT. If your presentation goes well, then you may be up for a promotion sooner than expected. Confidence will help you the most in such presentations, and for that, you need to prepare well. You can attend some public speaking training sessions to better your presentation skills.
That’s it for now! I hope you understood and are confident now on how to deliver a presentation to senior management, and ready to nail it.
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING
Annyck Nuyens. How to Prepare to Present to Senior Executives. http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/present-senior-executives/