You’ve been invited to present to a C-Level audience. The stakes are pretty high, and you’re experiencing nerve-wracking anticipation. How should you prepare for a presentation that may make – or break – your career? Jennifer breaks down 6 tips below:
1) Vision and Strategy are King
- Tie your objective, overall message, and key points to vision and/or strategy.
- Presenting internally: the vision would be that of your organization. Be specific.
- Presenting externally: align your vision with that of a customer or client. Use their wording.
- If tying your message to a strategy, state the strategy and be specific yet concise, as you present how you will support the strategy to make it successful.
2) Time is Not on Your Side
- At this level, get to it and fast.
- Many times you will begin a presentation that quickly sparks dialogue. This is good, be flexible.
- Know that the presentation that you plan to give is rarely the presentation that you actually give in its entirety.
3) You Love Lots of Slides, They Don’t
- Based on the “actual” time that you think you have, determine your number of slides and then cut those in half again.
- Your slides should outline conclusions, not details.
4) Get “Out of the Weeds”
- Simply, keep it simple.
- When presenting at this level, many want to include an in-depth overview of the entire process or timeline that led to this moment. Instead, stay at a high level.
- Present information that will give the executive key insights that will help him/herin their decision-making process.
…Today members of senior management are expected not only to support the CEO on business strategies, but also to offer their own insights and contribute to key decisions.
Harvard Business Review, March 2011, “The New Path to the C-Suite”
5) Expect Push Back
- Remember, questions are good.
- So are objections, if they give you the opportunity to present your findings. Be prepared to share the data if needed as back up.
- Be prepared with options and be realistic about your expectations or outcomes when presenting at this level.
6) Finally, Breathe!
- You are prepared.
- You are the expert. That is why they have asked you to come and share information with them.
- You have been given a “chair at the table”. Be a good partner and you will be invited back!
Have a message you need to share with a C-Level audience? Need some help organizing it? Delivering it? Our team would love to help. Speak Up & Be Effective™ – Momentum is a two-day program that includes one-on-one coaching to execute your communication objective and expand your communication presence. We still have a few seats remaining in our December 11 & 12 program. Contact us to sign up today.