How to Present to Senior Executives

Today, Leigh Espy will take over the blog. Project communication management often involves confident presentations. Leigh discusses how to tailor presentations for senior executives at the C-suite.

What does C-suite actually mean?
Tips for Starting Executive Presentations6 Tips to Make Strong Executive Presentations
How senior management presentations differ from other presentations
How to close a presentation for senior executives

Final tips for creating effective executive presentations (that work for all presentations).

As you progress in your project management career, you will be asked to give various presentations. Not all presentations are created equal. Presentations to senior executives may be very different from presentations to peers.
Leigh EpsyThe degree of formality may vary depending on the organization, but the focus and needs at the C-suite level are usually the same and very different from those at the individual contributor and manager levels.
What does C-suite actually mean?
We refer to people whose job titles begin with “C”, such as CEO, Chief Operating Officer, CFO, or similar. Your Board is the top person in your company.
These are the senior managers of the organization, the people who are executive leadership. They are the corner office! There are often offices on the top floors. There were windows and a view. At least that’s how it used to be.
Senior leaders today are just as likely to share a hot desk with us.
However, no matter where they are seated, it is important to understand their views and what they want from a presentation. You can prepare and deliver presentations about your projects with grace and confidence by understanding the needs of the executive audience.
Let’s first look at the differences between executive leadership audience’s expectations and what will work best with your colleagues.
Tips for starting executive presentations
If you have to fit into an executive session’s agenda, you will not have as much time. You must get to the point quickly.
Do not start with stories. Instead, get to the point. You should be able to communicate what you want from them. You can use a summary slide (as suggested by HBR) to summarize your presentation and then use the rest to support it.
Tip: In case of a request for data, you must have it available. This is a different way than how you would present it to your peers.
Engage your peers by explaining the “Why” behind the project. You need to help them understand the benefits and get their support. Use a perspective they can relate to. You can grab their attention by telling a story.
Six Tips to Make Your Executive Presentations Strong
Here are my top 6 tips to manage the middle portion of your senior leadership presentation. You have been invited to a C-level meeting to present your skills. Let’s not waste this opportunity!
After you have explained your situation or what you need, you can give a brief explanation about why this is important for the company. Give context.
Give evidence that your position matters. Use graphs and charts if you can. Present the results and the data supporting them.
If requested, be prepared with drill-down data.
Be ready to let the executives go against what you have taught. You must allow the conversation to flow in the way they choose. They might need to have side conversations in order to reach an agreement or make decisions about your topic.
It is possible that you won’t have the time you expected. If necessary, be prepared to present in a shorter amount of time. It is important to be prepared with options
Prepare to present a shorter version of your presentation
Be open to discussion, even if your practice is not perfect.