How To Present To Executives

Leaders Influencing Leaders: 10 Tips for Presenting to Executive…
  1. Start with the bottom line. …
  2. Respect our time. …
  3. Be prepared to be interrupted. …
  4. Be flexible. …
  5. Be candid. …
  6. Do your homework. …
  7. Make the connection. …
  8. Manage other stakeholders in advance.

Over the course of their careers, they have presented project updates and briefings and solicited input from numerous stakeholders to improve the presentation narrative. Now that the C-Suite executives are asking them questions they weren’t expecting, they are in the position of being the chief storyteller and an on-the-spot problem solver.

Most people in this position will get better with experience as they learn to recognize patterns in the questions that executives will ask and how to craft a synthesised story that proactively answers those questions. Here are seven questions you should always be prepared to respond to when presenting at the highest levels, though, if you want to quicken this learning process and subsequently advance your career.

The first slide of a presentation to a CMO on various growth marketing strategies that I recently attended showed a roadmap with a six-month timeline. We spent the entire hour discussing that first page and ways to shorten the timeline after the CMO asked, “How can we do this in one month?” Regardless of how insightful and clever the presentation was, the CMO understood that we could not wait six months to see if the suggested plan would be successful.

If you are presenting a plan to an executive committee, consider what you would need to accomplish two to three times more quickly and be prepared to discuss the obstacles that are slowing down delivery. In order to find opportunities to realize value more quickly, it is also a good idea to consider ways to divide the scope into smaller pieces. Another advantage of this strategy is that you can find ways to fail more quickly, which also unlocks a great deal of value because you now have more time to refine and iterate your strategy.

Imagine your CEO is eager to move forward after you just finished presenting a fantastic plan. You can only manage an “ummm” when she asks “What do you need from me?” or “How can I help?” nothing. This is exactly what I witnessed happen recently when a vice president presented a new product that their company should launch onto the market. The CEO was baffled as to why there could be no role for her to play in inspiring the organization to support the initiative or collaborating with marketing on creating buzz among the general public and potential customers.

This is a frequent occurrence that results from the speaker’s typical mindset, which is to convince the audience of their genius. Instead, the goal of these presentations should be to advance the company, and in order to accomplish that goal, it is essential to specify what you require in terms of resources, funding, as well as other people’s participation. In the end, people want to feel like they have a stake in the company’s success, so involving others is crucial to your success.

The proposals and pitches executives receive from internal and external stakeholders are overwhelming, and they only have a limited amount of resources to devote to these opportunities. Additionally, a company can become overburdened by a wide range of concurrent initiatives, so executives are trying to concentrate both their individual and the company’s energy on the initiatives that will have the biggest impact.

Due to this, executives frequently inquire about the effects of forgoing an initiative, and when the presenter is asked this question, they frequently realize that the grandiose business advantages they touted may have been exaggerated. Using a 20% sales growth rate as an example, a sales director might convince a chief revenue officer (CRO) that a roadshow is necessary. The conversation moves in the right direction as they both work to identify the true incrementality, and consequently criticality, of the initiative when the CRO questions the sales director about what the sales growth would be without the roadshow.

Nothing is accomplished in a vacuum, and in a world where innovation is advancing at an exponential rate, competitors can respond quickly to your company’s changes. In light of this, it is crucial to consider any potential second-order effects of your strategy. A good example is loyalty programs, which can be copied by rival businesses and result in lower profits.

Because of this, it is wise to at the very least have a conceptual framework for discussing potential market responses that could affect the effectiveness of your recommendation. Sometimes, this may entail running a more complex simulation when the stakes are very high and there is a lot of uncertainty.

It happens frequently for someone to present a very thoughtful analysis, including the benefits and drawbacks of competing options, and then not have a position on which option is best. It is crucial to keep in mind that when presenting to executives, it is not enough to simply summarize data and analysis; you must also lessen the cognitive load on the executive by giving them a clear understanding of “the solution.” It is common for people to be afraid of giving the “wrong answer,” but this is a mistake because giving any answer allows you to pressure test a particular idea and go over the presumptions and analyses that led to it.

Last but not least, offering a viewpoint on the solution demonstrates to senior executives that you are capable of making judgment calls, that you have faith in your reasoning, and that you are open to having your ideas contradicted. This is encouraging for your trajectory as it demonstrates your capacity to advance professionally.

Anyone who has participated in a case interview is aware of the importance of externalizing your assumptions because they provide crucial context for how you have framed the problem. The same logic applies to presentations, and while I frequently see presentations with a slide on assumptions, it’s common to overlook the most crucial assumptions, or those that have the greatest influence on the solution. By asking yourself these questions, you can clarify what these underlying presumptions are.

Jeff Bezos has made a name for himself by obsessively focusing Amazon on the needs of its customers. He has lauded the benefits of this strategy and explained how it can give businesses an edge. In a similar vein, many business leaders are pondering how strategic initiatives, even those that are internal operations-focused, will benefit the client. It’s effective to consider how your work will ultimately affect the customer when making presentations to gain support, inspire enthusiasm, and show strategic clarity.

10 Tips For Impressive Presentations To Senior Leadership And Executives

Why is presenting to executives important?

When you know how to present to executives, you can give them pertinent information that will help them understand the company’s current situation and how to make decisions that will have a positive impact on the organization. Making a presentation can put you in front of the key decision-makers at your company right away, which can help you establish productive working relationships with executives.

How to present to executives

The following steps will help you present to executives in the most formal way possible:

1. Take time to prepare

Speaking to an executive audience requires being well-prepared and capable of delivering. These experts anticipate that you will be prepared with the details they require and responses to any queries they may have. Spend time organizing your presentation and choosing the best order to deliver it in. This will demonstrate to your audience that you value their time and may earn their respect.

2. Practice before you present

To get better at presenting to executives, practice in front of a trusted coworker. Coworkers can provide feedback on the quality of your presentations and suggestions for content culling. Make notes on their comments so you can deliver an excellent presentation that wows executives.

3. Provide a summary

To concentrate on the key points of your topic, discuss the summary at the beginning of your presentation. By providing important information up front, you give your audience more time to process it and make decisions that will affect the company’s future. To pique the interest of executives and improve the likelihood of a fruitful discussion, present them with various types of crucial information.

Critical information you can use in your presentation includes:

4. Outline expectations

Within the opening five minutes, discuss the presentation’s goals. Tell the executives, for instance, that your focus is on providing suggested solutions so they can decide how to grow the organization.

Setting the presentation’s expectations summarizes the key details and the conclusion you hope to reach. Ensure executives that you will respond to any questions they may have so you have more time to present important information with few interruptions.

5. Produce slideshow presentations and visuals

Generate slideshow presentations and simple visuals before presenting key points. By using these components, you can give your audience a new way to remember your main points and absorb information. Executives have the ability to make decisions based on new information, which may result in a call to action that benefits both customers and employees.

Take notes on comments made on each slide to help guide the conversation. Refer back to specific slides as they request. Follow the 10% rule, which states that 10% of your slides should contain essential information, while the remaining 90% should only contain supplementary data.

6. Include a coherent structure

For every presentation you give to executives, follow a linear format. A linear order makes it clear when you’ve reached the start, middle, and end of the presentation, which helps you stay on course. To help you navigate each stage of your presentation, you can use slides or notecards. List these three components clearly in your presentation so that you have enough time to respond to questions and feedback.

7. Discuss risks

To help executives understand the reality of the current situation, identify and communicate risks. Risk disclosure to executives demonstrates your readiness to handle any situation involving the company. Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to identify the risks that could impede the expansion of your business and spur executives to act right away.

A risk might be the shifting market conditions, which could affect your company’s target market, products, and messaging on digital media platforms, for instance, if you present a SWOT analysis on a marketing strategy. If executives notice no sales in the 25 to 54 age group, they may decide to target customers between the ages of 18 and 34.

8. Explain worse-case scenarios

Describe the worst-case scenario if the company does nothing. Making a note of the worst-case scenario gives executives time to address issues before they arise and enables them to concentrate on actions that will promote business growth. Give some examples of the worst-case scenarios to keep the conversation focused on finding a solution.

For instance, you might discuss how holding an event in a particular city will increase ticket sales and revenue and result in a 30% increase in sales, market share, or another important metric for your business. Make a list of potential outcomes that could prevent your company from growing so that executives can decide how to prevent these outcomes.

9. Ask for feedback and suggestions

To increase the level of executive participation during the presentation, solicit feedback. After your presentation, executives can better evaluate all the benefits and drawbacks of your suggestions and the options available to them by asking for feedback. Give executives time in your presentation to offer feedback and compare the merits of the choices they can make on the organization’s behalf.

10. Give data and recommendations

When presenting to executives, use precise numbers, industry research, and recommendations. Executives are informed of the importance of the resolution they must reach by revealing data related to the topic of your presentation. Your suggestions demonstrate how you analyzed the data to come up with your solutions. Answer all inquiries about the applicability of your data, such as how you arrived at these figures and how they impact the company’s future.

11. Convey a clear message

To make your presentation better, stick to one main point. The urgency for executives to act on this message to benefit the company is emphasized by having your main message displayed throughout your presentation. Express how a choice based on your core message enables the business to outlive the competition and serve current customers by revealing your evidence, such as competitor data and customer feedback.

12. Work within time constraints

Include more content in your presentation than is necessary to talk for the allotted time. This additional information gives you the freedom to navigate the slides and deliver useful information before the meeting is over. To take into account the executives’ limited time, present all the information connected to your presentation’s call to action.


How do you give a presentation to the CEO?

Here’s how you can earn their attention and support:
  1. Summarize up front: Say you’re given 30 minutes to present.
  2. Set expectations by informing the audience that you will present your summary for the first few minutes and then lead a discussion for the remaining time.

What does executive presentation mean?

A brief proposal or update is given to a group of executives in an organization by a member of staff or a consultant in an executive presentation. Typically, it’s a proposal for a new initiative or an update to something already under consideration.

How do you professionally present a presentation?

How can you make a good presentation even more effective?
  1. Show your Passion and Connect with your Audience. …
  2. Focus on your Audience’s Needs. …
  3. Keep it Simple: Concentrate on your Core Message. …
  4. Smile and Make Eye Contact with your Audience. …
  5. Start Strongly. …
  6. Remember the 10-20-30 Rule for Slideshows. …
  7. Tell Stories.

How do you start a presentation in front of senior management?

How can you make a good presentation even more effective?
  1. Show your Passion and Connect with your Audience. …
  2. Focus on your Audience’s Needs. …
  3. Keep it Simple: Concentrate on your Core Message. …
  4. Smile and Make Eye Contact with your Audience. …
  5. Start Strongly. …
  6. Remember the 10-20-30 Rule for Slideshows. …
  7. Tell Stories.

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