The two-part blog series on How to Communicate with Executives was so well-received, I wanted to write a third and final bonus post. Not to mention, Fortune 500 executives have shared so many invaluable tips with me with over the years, that it's difficult for me not to want to share them all.
So, this week I'll conclude the series by focusing on (1) the use of slides when presenting to executives and (2) how to manage push back when interacting with executives.
“The more slides that you have, the more opportunity there is for it to go horribly wrong. Keep it simple. Get to the point. Don’t go sideways.”
Excellent advice! I hear so many complaints from executives about presentation decks that are nothing more than huge data dumps. Too often, presenters use too many slides and try to relay too much data on each slide. Most executives really dislike this approach.
While dumping data may be a well-intentioned effort to prove to executives how knowledgeable you are, it only frustrates and confuses them.
Instead, after first providing a concise executive summary up front that includes your “ask”, tell executives that you can drill down into specific areas if they'd like to hear more. In other words, let them tell you where they want or need more information. Don’t force it on them!
“Be ready to get push back that allows you to demonstrate your conviction or commitment to an idea.”
Executives may test and challenge an idea that you've presented. Often, their goal in doing so is to see if your idea is sound and if you have strength in your convictions.
Of course, if the idea won’t stand up under pressure, then it might not be a viable one. And, if you don't stand up under pressure—that is, if you appear to lack confidence in your presentation—then that will affect an executive's perception of you as credible or trustworthy.
Anytime you present, be prepared to defend your ideas with thoughtful responses and communicate those responses with poise and confidence.
You may be wondering, "But isn't the value of my idea or solution what matters most?"
How you say something is just as important as what you say. And, even superb ideas, if poorly presented, can lose.
Do you struggle to create succinct and compelling slides that you feel confident presenting to executives? Learn about the 5+1 Slide Strategy for Executive-Level Presentations by watching the video Slide Strategy Best Practices, produced with Harvard Business Publishing. Watch Mandel's Brad Holst talk about how to use the 5+1 strategy to improve the quality and outcomes of your presentations to senior executives.
Customers coming to a user conference aren’t there for the fanfare, they’re there for the expertise. If you’re an expert speaking at a user conference, you’re highly knowledgeable and passionate about your topic, but you might not be an expert at speaking in front of an audience. Here are five practical tips that you can implement right away for any upcoming speaking event.
Read the blog and learn how to make your next team offsite your most productive yet.
TED Talks have become a go-to example for how to give an engaging presentation from the big stage. They can be informative, inspiring, and often incredibly entertaining. But is the TED Talk format right for a business presentation delivered in a conference room? Probably not — but the skills used by TED Talk presenters definitely are!
Learn how to identify what goes into a successful TED Talk and how to make those skills work for you in your everyday business presentations.
Learn Mandel’s 3-step model for skillfully responding — not reacting — to tough questions with confidence and ease.
You know your scientists, engineers, and technology experts are the best around. They're proven innovators and solution providers within your organization. Why, then, is presenting to a business audience such a common challenge for technical professionals?
Learn 11 tactics your technical team can use right now to make them more effective and influential communicators for any business decision maker.
Admittedly, I've struggled to find a reliable way to help people reduce their public speaking anxiety, despite years of trying. I’ve advised people to do just about anything I could think of that might help, e.g., breathing, meditation. While I haven't found the thing that works every time for every person, there is one technique that seems to be more effective than most. Even if you've already found something that works well for you, this technique is worth trying out.
Imagine being asked to present to your entire company tomorrow. Does the idea of it make you nervous? You might be tempted to get right to work, writing every word down and committing them to memory. Now, what if I said you couldn’t memorize your talk? Whoa, wait a minute. You wonder, “How am I supposed to remember what to say?”
Find out why memorizing is a terrible idea and what you should do instead to prepare for your next presentation.
Be sure to set your speakers up for success. Read this week's blog to find out how.
Executive briefings. Big sales meetings. Project pitch meetings. What do they have in common? The stakes are sky high. There’s a lot riding on them for you and your company — revenue, reputation, productivity. Do your people have, both, the presentation AND facilitation skills to ensure their success?
Read the blog to find out and to get your free Discussion Leader Self-Assessment Tool and Facilitator Checklist.
Memory almost full. Imagine that warning flashing brightly on the forehead of every audience member. A successful presentation isn’t just about the speaker’s dynamic energy or their confident manner in front of an audience. Without compelling, easy to follow content, it doesn’t matter how comfortable you are in the spotlight. You and your topic will quickly be forgotten. So how do you ensure lasting, memorable impact? Learn how to be remembered by leveraging the ancient, globally relevant, and scientifically proven rule of three to focus your content, motivate your listeners, and make your executive presence shine.
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