Making Executive Level Presentations
CEOs and senior executives are tough crowds to impress. As a presenter, you’ll have to find a way to wow them. Because they’re constantly on a schedule they’re incredibly impatient. Don’t expect them to listen to a 2-hour speech. In the business environment mastering the art of speaking in public is fundamental. A board level presentation can mean a lot for your business; however, it must be done right.
How do you impress a potential investor or senior executive? You may have a lot to say to them, but during such presentations it’s best to keep it short and get straight to the point. Speak fluently and coherently, and stay away from affirmations you can’t prove or don’t know whether they’re true or false. Here are some more guidelines on making board level presentations in business.
You have exactly 1 minute to get to the point
Executives, CEOs, company owners and entrepreneurs roam around high-pressure environments. They put in many hours of work per week, they will with all kinds of emergencies and stressful situations, so you can’t expect them to sit back, relax and listen to you beat around the bush. Get to the point the moment you have the opening to speak. Time is an extremely precious commodity in business one can’t afford to waste.
Executive presentations should be factual. It’s not a good idea to arrive late, and make sure that your tools work properly before getting started. You have no excuse, and in case something happens to the projector or your PowerPoint presentation won’t start, your listeners won’t care.
Focus your public speech on future prospects
Business executives are not interested in hearing about today’s issue. Their minds are focused on the future, on what might happen with their business 3 years from now. They want to hear how can someone (potential partner, associate, or employee) can assist with beating competitors, holding onto present customers, reach new clients, and boost revenue. Focus your public speech on future prospects and they’ll want to hear your ideas.
Before discussing details, sell a dream
This guideline applies in sales. Don’t just enter executive level presentations with the goal of starting to talk about your super cool product. This will immediately persuade executives to center their attention on product features and cost. The meeting will end with “as soon as we have an answer, we’ll get back to you”, which basically means your speech was useless. To avoid speaking in vane, you should focus on selling a vision and painting a better future for your listeners. Talk about your product only after you’ve mentioned the vision. This shows that you have their attention, and that they want to hear more.
Don’t look to impress with data but with stories
Business executives have a great respect for solid information and decisions that are driven by information. However, they’re extremely realistic about what information can and can’t do. They’ve witnessed projects fail even if they were backed up by glowing data; and they’ve also witnessed boost-strap projects thrive in spite of a lack of information to back up the claims. That being said, some executives go with their gut rather than believe the data. As a presenter, your speech should be backed up by proof, but most importantly, it must be backed by a story.
How determined are you to make your board level presentation stand out?
It’s really important for business people be prepared when entering meetings with executives. Determination is bliss, and the more determined you are the better chances you have to make an impression and gauge attention. If you’re having doubts about certain sections of your speech, better avoid them. Doubt doesn’t win their trust. Keep in mind that executives know the ins and outs of public presentations. Some deal with tens of such speeches a day. Can you set yourself apart from competitors? Providing that you are 100% sure that your speaking abilities are solid you have the highest chances of making an impression.
Speaking in public can be a burden. Sometimes it’s not about being the best orator, but about saying useful things, things that your audience can relate to. If you can do that then you have an extra shot at closing the best deal
William Taylor wrote this article. He is a frequent writer who has contributed many high quality articles to various business sites. He also writes for the site London Speaker Bureau which is world’s leading speaker and advisory network.