Professional growth often takes us into truly intimidating situations, such as presenting to the board of directors. After all, what can we do to meet leadership expectations at key meetings? The contexts in which this challenge applies are varied. Seeking sponsorship for a project, selling a product or service, and updating those present on a department’s results are some examples.
In this content, I have gathered 7 tips to make an excellent corporate presentation for your company’s leadership. Read on and communicate efficiently!
1. Understand your audience profile
Leadership is distributed in the company like a pyramid. That is, each leader has several people below in the hierarchy, who are the commanders of departments and internal divisions. In addition, several interested parties may demand the manager’s attention, requiring decision-making.
Therefore, you will not be the only person demanding leadership time for projects, products, services, updates, etc. Consequently, the content of the presentation must contain what the leadership needs to make a quick and appropriate decision to solve the problem. Don’t get frustrated with this focus of meetings.
After a positive performance in a project, it is natural to feel the need for recognition for the work done and to want to detail your activities. However, prioritizing the interests of those present is essential to demonstrate a professional image and posture.
2. Know the rules of the game
An important precaution is to know the written and unwritten rules of the game. Following the standards for formatting reports and slides, obeying the available time, understanding the communication channel (in person or online) and other characteristics of the environment in which you will be inserted eliminates obstacles to the success of your presentation.
In this sense, rules can be expressed in documents, such as formatting guides and shared slide templates. However, they can also be established by habits, such as the practice of making time for questions from those present and information requested repeatedly.
3. Value leaders’ time
Time management during the presentation is another relevant precaution. In addition to respecting the space on the manager’s agenda and arriving in advance, we need to consider the unforeseen events that may arise. Imagine that a number is questioned during the speech, and the time spent detailing the result will not be replaced.
In addition, other participants may be interested in asking questions, and if you consume that space, at the end of the presentation, part of the audience will be frustrated. In this scenario, we need to understand the importance of planning the content. Keep in mind which information is essential and which will only be taken if there is time available.
The more interventions, the greater your focus on the first group during the presentation to the board. Having clear visual material and anticipating questions helps to minimize questioning. Difficulties in understanding a graphic, font sizes, organization of information and other problems in the material can cause interruptions.
However, even with the proper material, there is no way to completely prevent it. Also remember to develop control over the pace of speech, adapting the speech to different scenarios. You can, for example, record your speech to evaluate the time used and test different ways of presenting the content.
4. Be objective in your presentation
The content of the presentation to the board should be straight to the point. Normally, the core is the problem-solution relationship, which can have different versions, according to the motivation of the meeting:
- The pain of a group of people and the delivery of value that will be carried out;
- Market opportunity and how the company can take advantage of it;
- Identified errors and possible corrections;
- The risks raised and the preventive measures;
- Quality gap and corrective measures;
- Damage caused and possible remedies.
In the presentation to the board, we can contextualize the problem whenever necessary, for better understanding. An objective way to do this is the SCQA model: Situation, Complication, Question and Answer.
The proposal is to use a single paragraph for each question in order to encourage the ability to summarize information. With this, you will have an immediate response to each of the decisive points and use them to prepare the support material.
5. Make the connection with the company’s results
Leadership presentations should be connected to audience objectives. Therefore, when we approach the board, we must be attentive to the financial results, basing the presentation on consolidated data and realistic projections.
In several situations, the financial result will be caused by the activities developed in a project or department. For example, the HR professional will not only demonstrate the savings generated by the department but also the relationship with changes in recruitment, reduced turnover and other industry indicators.
It is worth mentioning that the leadership keynote performance indicators are usually the main information present in the slides, being exposed with resources to facilitate visualization. In this sense, graphs, charts, and tables are welcome, always respecting the formatting defined by the company.
6. Prepare the support material
During the presentation, we must be prepared to deepen the information provided. So, remember to prepare support material with the mindset that it will be used, even if the chances are slim. An interesting metric to assess the level of preparation on a subject is the 5 whys methodology. That is, you must be prepared to answer 5 times the question about the reasons that justify the information presented.
The level of detail will depend on the context, available time and audience interest. However, the central point is to have an amount of information that brings with it self-confidence to make a good presentation.
7. Count on qualified professionals
One last point is to remember that a good presentation is not just about knowledge. The development of the presentation for the board depends equally on affective and psychomotor changes, and not only on the intellectual domain.
Affective changes concern values and feelings related to the process, such as developing emotional intelligence, controlling nervousness, knowing how to react to questions and having empathy to understand the demands of those present.
Psychomotor transformations, on the other hand, cover the muscular apparatus associated with communication skills, such as controlling the tone and rhythm of the voice, demonstrating assertiveness in communication, using gestures appropriately and maintaining a posture that conveys confidence.
Therefore, guidance from qualified professionals to support the preparation and execution of presentations is essential. Communication skills can be acquired but require cognitive, affective and psychomotor changes through study, exercises, feedback and other facilitators.