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Do You Know What Keeps C-level Execs Awake at Night?

by PowerSpeaking, Inc.     May 9, 2019 3:21:17 PM

Presenting business results to senior executives is like no other presentation you'll make. Your audience expects you to step up to their level, and think the way they think. Here are some tips to help you succeed.

We have worked with many senior executives who tell us that sitting through business reviews is often a frustrating exercise, because their employees don’t step up to their level when presenting results.  All too often, the presenters get lost in the weeds, and are unprepared to answer 10,000-foot questions. Or, they have a difficult time deviating from their presentation to engage in dialogue with the leaders at the table.  

If you present business reviews to senior executives, it’s critical that you understand what information they are looking for, how they want the information presented, and how they want you to engage with them.   

This is the first of a two-part blog about how to present your business reviews like a pro.  The first installment focuses on how to prepare, prepare, prepare for your business review presentation to C-level executives.  The second installment will zero in on the high-stakes presentation delivery itself, or what PowerSpeaking Master Trainer Stephanie Moore calls, “real-time business strategy in the making.”

Here are our best tips for preparing for the business review:

Adopt their mindset.  We can’t stress enough how important it is that you step outside your own perspective, and develop your presentation with theirs in mind.  And that mindset asks: How does what you’re telling me impact our core business issues, the things that keep me awake at night? How does it impact overall business revenue?  Market share? Customer satisfaction? Turnaround time? Employee retention? Compliance? Efficiency? In other words, what’s the ROI—if any—for the money we gave you last quarter, to do what you said you were going to do?

Know your data like the back of your hand.  This is especially true of your numbers.  As you craft your presentation, keep in mind that senior executives will want to know not just what the numbers are, but also, how you got to them.  That includes any data you pull from third parties.  Your credibility will rise or fall based on how well you know your stuff.

Plan to have a dialogue, not just to present data.  If you’re being given 30 minutes for your business review, design your presentation so that it lasts 10 to 15 minutes, leaving the rest of the allotted time for dialogue and questions.  One of the most frequent comments we’ve heard from C-levels is that they don’t want a one-way data dump; rather, they want an interactive dialogue.

Anticipate questions.  Using their mindset as a guide, ask yourself, what would I want to know if I were one of them?  Am I ready to talk about our quarter results relative to impact on the business, customer satisfaction, or any of our core business issues?  Is there anything about the results that would prompt questions or concerns?

Practice until you feel confident.  Do you spend 99 percent of your business review prep time just pulling together the data and the slide deck, and one (or zero) percent actually practicing your delivery?  That’s a mistake. You need to make time to practice delivering your data AND responding to questions and possible concerns.

In the next blog, we’ll take you to the head of the conference room table, and paint a picture of how to deliver a business review that impresses, rather than frustrates, your company leaders.  

One of PowerSpeaking’s most popular programs, Speaking Up: Presenting to Executives, offers in-depth training and practice for individuals and teams who need to present to senior leaders.  Here are our upcoming Speaking Up: Presenting to Executives/Decision Makers workshops in Redwood City, CA:

  • July 18, 2019
  • August 1, 2019
  • September 12, 2019
  • October 10, 2019
  • December 5, 2019

To register, click here.

To contact us: coordinator@powerspeaking.com.

On the journey with you . . .
The PowerSpeaking Team

About the Author

PowerSpeaking, Inc.

Topics: Presentation Skills, Presenting to Executives, Executive Presentations, Senior Executives, C-Level Executives, Business Reviews, Presenting to Decision Makers, Preparation for Business Reviews, Presentation Design, Delivering Business Reviews

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