Presenting to the Exec Committee? 5 Essential Tips
The other day my client asked me to share my tips on how to present ideas to the Exec Committee.
They were seriously nervous about;
What they were going to say? Yikes!
How they were going to say it? Ummmm….errrr.
How they might PERSUADE the ExCo that their idea was a brilliant idea!
So I shared this with them. It will help you too…
Last year I helped 4 groups of quite junior professionals at a FTSE 100 organisation present their ideas to their executive committee for the first time.
Two of the teams showed flair and brilliance around their vision, one team even had their very own animation made so their slides looked innovative and creative…..excellent, they had an edge!
However, the one small mistake every team made was this… (by the way many senior leaders around the world make this same mistake too, I’ve worked with them!)
They forgot the ‘so what’ factor!
Sometimes I call it ‘The Big Ask’
At the end of each presentation – there was applause (because they were excellent), head nodding, yes, but no…… clear ASK – nothing to ACTION there and then.
So what could you do to create actions and ‘green lights’ when you present to the ExCo?
In order to captivate your ExCo audience and have them (and you) walking away with solid actions and possible investments (wow just imagine that), I’ve got some easy-to-adopt tips for you.
In all my 27 years in broadcasting at the BBC, in business and helping leaders captivate and persuade their audiences to say YES – I have the essential ingredients!
Here are my TOP 5 essential presentation tips to help you nail it and get what you want, quickly, efficiently and with effortless confidence (yes wouldn’t that be fantastic?)
TIP 1 - AUDIENCE 1ST
“Love your audience a little bit more than yourself”
Yes, I shared this tip with Boris Johnson once at the BBC and he replied.
“Hmmm, I’m not sure that’s possible”
I must say, he did take this tip on board when he was co-hosting a live radio call-in. He was excellent with the callers live on air.
More importantly though, what does this mean in practice for YOU?
Always put your audience - The trick is to find out what presses their buttons…
Step into their shoes!
Yes, do a mini role-play, step into their shoes and become them for 30% of your prep time.
Put your slides and ideas aside at the beginning of your prep time and focus on what your audience cares about and how they think.
This forces you to become much more focussed and efficient about your content from the beginning!
I suggest you get a blank sheet or flip chart (with your fellow team members) and write down (truthfully) what you think the Exco in the room on that day will be thinking about and what they care about….
- “What’s in it for me?”
- ‘Does this idea make money?”
- “Is this good for business?”
- “what’s the upside?”
- “What’s the risk?”
- “How much?”
- “When’s lunch?”
- “Be quick”
To be honest the more senior the audience the more you’ll find….
‘Be quick…don’t bore me….don’t waste my time….just tell me how much?”
Remember - less is more!
TIP 2 – Have a Killer Top Line
You need a killer top line! Something that will grab your audience’s attention within 0-10 seconds.
Once you’ve done your audience audit.
Make sure you have ONE not 3, 4 or 5, but ONE core message that’s targeted perfectly for your audience!
Create a headline – just like a news bulletin – a killer one-liner.
This message is likely to tie in with your big ask.
Your message may change as you craft your content, but in reality, your audience will remember ONE thing about your presentation not 3, not 5 not a list of 20 things you need to change – ONE thing.
So make sure you have ONE umbrella message/ theme/ ask and everything else will fall into place.
Do remember the big ask at the end!
TIP 3 – BE AUTHENTIC
In my experience, the more formal the presentation – the worse it gets.
Be yourself! Be a human being, with a sense of humour. Make it conversational.
If you’re presenting as part of a team – I suggest you choose a ‘host’ (yes, like a chat show host) to introduce the other team members to contribute, more like a talk show than a formal and stiff presentation.
Think about the audience, what do they want to see and hear?
Do they want; passion, fun, something new, entertainment or something powerful?
They don’t want – stuffy, formal, boring data and loads of slides with facts figures to get their head around.
They want you to cut to the chase with BIG bold statements and concepts.
They want to know how you FEEL about your topic and what your OPINION is, not boring data.
In The Impact Guru Academy I ban the dumping of data in presentations.
Be human, be fun, be passionate, use pictures, it works.
TIP 4 – TELL STORIES
Stories are much more engaging than ‘data’ and information!
Information and facts can be printed and emailed – stories and feelings are what makes people ‘feel’ something.
So my big tip here, tell stories to back up your ONE core message.
A really easy way to tell a story is by picturing a postcard of your story.
For example – if your message is “We need to communicate better on conference calls”
Tell a story about the conference call that went wrong in March!
Maybe France dialed in early, Italy dialed in late, Germany had dogs barking in the background and Luxembourg kept going mute!
“It was a rainy Thursday in London and we were sitting on the 9th floor of Exchange House overlooking the snow on Liverpool St Station …non of the technology would work….we got nothing done in 60 minutes!”
Stories and pictures stick in your mind!
TIP 5 - BE AWESOME – with body language & voice!
The Power of the POSE!
Here’s my quick fix mantra before you have to ‘perform’ in front of an audience. This will help you in your next meeting too. Try these tips asap, you’ll feel so much more confident.
P-Posture – make it big and bold
O-Oomph – energy welly, Chutzpah. Give it some
S- Speech – loud, clear and slow – will give you instant impact!
E – Eyes and teeth – smile - an instant confidence booster, helps you relax
Smiling is the key to a fantastic phone-voice too! Try it.
Finally, remember to have some fun.
When you’re smiling and looking like you’re enjoying yourself, your ExCo will enjoy listening to your ‘Big Ask’ and are more likely to act it!
Please do email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any worries or you’d like some advice on your presentation content or delivery. I’ve love to help.