How to Confidently Present to Executives: On Track Recruitment
A part of the corporate lifestyle is presenting your findings, research & ideas to executives. Learn how to do it confidently here.
How to Present to Executives
It is a daunting experience, presenting to executives/superiors. You need to easily convey the data you have found, the research you have conducted or the ideas that you have thought of. All of which can be scary – you are presenting to the most powerful people in your company, or a prospective client’s company.
The fact that they are the decision makers adds an extra element of pressure, knowing that because of your presentation, a decision will be made about actions moving forward. You have to ensure that you present your case well and in an easily understandable manner.
To add some extra confidence during this stressful time, we have compiled some easy to follow tips that can help overcome any nerves you may have.
Research your Audience
Knowing your audience applies to all presentations, but even more so when it comes to presenting to executives. By understanding who you will be presenting to, you are able to cater your presentation to fit their needs.
If you know beforehand, that the executive boards are driven by quantitative data, you may want to tweak your presentation to include more facts and figures which are definitive. On the contrary, if after conducting your research, you understand that the executives want to know the whats and whys, you can tweak your presentation to display the relevant data.
Do you need to present any background information on your topic? Or are the executives experts in your field?
By knowing your audience, you can have that extra bit of confidence knowing that you are presenting data in a format that they can easily digest and want to learn more about.
Know your Supporting Data
When presenting to executives, there will always be follow-up questions. It is important that you research your preriforary data in order to provide a comprehensive overview of your topic. By having this knowledge to hand, you showcase your ability to be able to think on the spot as well as show off your ability to retain specific pieces of data, a very valuable skill to have.
Furthermore, you can identify areas in your presentation that could raise further questions. By conducting further research into the data in this particular area, you demonstrate your understanding of potential implications of actions moving forward.
Ensure you are Transparent in your Communication
Executives have sat through countless presentations throughout their career. By being clear and concise with your words and data, you are able to cut out any unnecessary points that they may not have a particular interest in.
If you provide the cold hard facts, and are upfront about potential risks and implications, you are able to paint a full picture and leave no stone unturned. This then provides the executives all of the data they need to know in order to action a decision.
This further demonstrates your ability to identify potential risks and look at the bigger picture.
Another great tip is to be honest – if you do not know the answer to a question, simply let the executives know, and ensure that you will find out the answer as quickly as possible and notify them of the answer. Do not make up any information in order to appear smarter; they will find out and remember this.
Flexibility in your Presentation
Executives are busy people – there is not a lot of time to waste. They can be doing other things during the time you present to them, so do not be surprised if you are asked to move on to the next slide, or alternatively, go back to a certain slide to recap.
If you are asked to fast forward on some slides, take it as a compliment. You have presented the data in a manner that is easy to digest and requires no further explanation. Be prepared to leave time for a discussion at the end as this is where you can really cement your ideas into actions.
If you have to, offer to send them the presentation with the rest of the details in order to have a healthy amount of time to discuss actions moving forward.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you have finalised the presentation you are going to show to the executives, rehearse it until it becomes second nature. By being able to reference the slides without reading them, it demonstrates a confidence that you are an expert on the subject matter.
Go through it with your family, colleagues, friends or even the barista at the coffee shop. By going over the presentation again and again, you remove the worry of forgetting to mention something. This then allows for a more comfortable presentation as you know the topic back to front.
Take a Deep Breath
Taking a deep breath can help in any stressful situation. It helps control your breathing and provides you with a clearer head to think logically. By taking a deep breath, you allow yourself to be calm and focus on the task at hand.
It is important to remember, despite the executives being “scary and intimidating”, you are simply 1 person presenting your thoughts, data, ideas to another person (or group of people). That is all that is taking place. When it is said like this, it is a lot less of a scary thought and you are able to approach it with a more open attitude.
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