Are you planning on delivering a presentation to your superiors? Follow these 6 practical tips and you’ll win over the hearts of the higher-ups in no time!
Delivering a presentation to your superiors is tough business. Higher-ups have a different agenda and a different way of defining success for the company. They can also be highly distracted, making it that much more difficult to illustrate your point.
Knowing that you need to impress within a matter of minutes, it’s important to be prepared for your next big presentation. Eating a good breakfast and practicing your mantra before entering the conference room will help, but there are other, more effective ways to make a splash with the higher-ups.
Here are six practical tips to help you prepare for your upcoming presentation. With the right idea and a flawless delivery, you’ll be winning over your superiors in no time.
1. Define why your idea matters.
Many presenters take the time to define what their idea is about, but they don’t have a solid answer for why it matters. Your boss will want to know how your idea fits into the company’s values. Be prepared to answer tough questions, particularly about why this vision makes a difference for you, for them and for your clients.
2. Anticipate the types of questions that will be asked.
Preparation is key. If you look like a deer in headlights, it may appear that you haven’t fully thought everything through. To anticipate the types of questions your audience will ask, define your objectives and organize your ideas. What do you hope your audience will gain after your presentation? What actions do you want them to take?
3. Find a supporter of your idea.
It’s helpful if you can find someone in the company – a senior supporter of some type – to encourage your idea. Not only can this person act as an advocate, but they can also give you a new perspective as to how your vision fits in with the company. When the time comes around to pitch your idea, you’ll have a better understanding of how your idea aligns with company goals and activities, as well as someone to ease the transition.
4. Create a proposal.
If you’re asking for budget, create a separate ROI document that you can share during your presentation. The higher-ups always like to see what something is going to cost, no matter how good it sounds. It’s a smart idea to create this document before crafting your arguments, as you will need to explain why you need the budget you do. Senior management will see that you’ve taken this presentation seriously as well, earning you an extra gold star.
5. Be thorough but brief.
You need to balance the length of your presentation with the information provided. Leave no stone unturned, but deliver your message in a simple, straightforward manner. Focus on key metrics and numbers to demonstrate your point. Indicate that you have done your research and are aware of (and prepared for) potential problems.
6. Present your presentation.
When you have everything in place – the perfect presentation, a meeting with the higher-ups and a time and date – it’s time to present! Speak clearly, avoid saying filler words such as “uh” or “um” and pay attention to your body language. Stand up straight, look your audience in the eye and be professional yet conversationalist in your tone.
Also pay attention to the body language of your audience. Do they look bored? Distracted? Confused? If you notice these reactions, don’t get nervous and give up. Take a deep breath and say something like, “I have a few minutes to answer questions. Do you have any for me?” This is a great way to pull them back in and get them interested again.
When your presentation is complete, leave the meeting with a response from your boss. Not all decisions can be made right then and there, but many will. You can at least be given the green light to proceed or a follow-up meeting. If you’ve done your research, prepared an engaging presentation and left room for questions or discussion, you should have no problem warming up your superiors to your vision.