Imagine this, you get an opportunity to present your ideas and solutions to the C-suite. Undoubtedly, it’s a golden opportunity to interact with the high-level executives and decision-makers of the company. An opportunity like this can be a game-changer for anyone. But it can go either way. But are you being nervous or anxious thinking about how to blow a presentation to the c-suite.
A good presentation can open up lines to new projects and promotions but, if you blow a presentation to the C-Suite, it can mean the worst for you. You can even get demoted, fired, or ignored for any other opportunity in the future.
It seems harsh but doesn’t make it any less than true. C-suite leaders value every minute of their time. So, if they are giving you a chunk of their precious time, it better be worth it.
Yet, there are some common traps people fall for as no one taught them to present to the C-Suite. It’s not a press conference, TedxTalk, or even a regular pitch meeting.
A C-Suite presentation needs you to be on your best behavior, and honor the executives without losing your charisma. If you want to lead a presentation to the C-Suite, look out for these common mistakes.
Remember that presentation skills come to those who work towards it. So, enroll in our eight-week public speaking course for business leaders and never blow a high–level presentation.
If you are a business leader or working at a higher position, it’s really important to have excellent public speaking skills.
Most people don’t believe this but you can actually Grow Your Business With Public Speaking Skills.
A chance to lead a presentation and present your ideas to the CEO is not an opportunity to wing it. There’s a misconception among people that “winging it” can lead to the best outcome. In reality, it leads to embarrassment followed by losing the respect of your seniors who allowed you to shine.
No secrets of success work unless you do. So, instead of hoping for everything to work out well, it’s better if you put work into it.
Any meeting important enough to prepare a presentation for is important enough to put effort and make it great. If you blow a presentation because you didn’t prepare enough, you have no one to blame but yourself.
Let’s say you have an amazing idea for the company which will streamline the processes and you’re elevated to share it with the C-Suite executives. But what problem are you solving for your CEO?
Try to place yourself in your CEO’s shoes. It’s their everyday job to navigate ideas, explore, build and execute plans. Why should they listen to your so-called amazing idea?
Presenters forget to highlight the problem statement in their presentation and lose room in the first 5 minutes. You have to make them interested in your idea. Every word that comes out of your mouth should have their attention. Nothing hooks people more than a good problem and its solution.
So, begin the presentation with the problem you’ve identified and talk about the pain points. Once you have called out the problem and the urgency around it, you can move on to the solution.
Seems tricky to do? Learn how to structure presentations in our expert-led public speaking course designed to help you from looking like an amateur in the boardroom.
Presentations mean different things at different stages of your life. In high school, you can present on any topic you like. But if you work in a modern corporate, you can’t deliver a monologue about a topic in the name of a presentation and get away with it.
Trust us if you pull something like this in your workplace, it’s going to show in your next employee feedback.
The most effective trick to ensure your audience cares about your presentation is to give a presentation about something they care about.
Meaning you must talk about why your organization needs a strategy change instead of telling them the new strategy. It will prove to be much more relevant, interest the audience.
These are the best ways that you can blow your presentation to the c-suite
The biggest one of how to blow your presentation to the C-Suite is not talking about the ROI (Return on Investment) for the company.
The C-Suite executives are interested in growing the bottom line, boosting revenues, and getting the best ROI possible. But if you leave this crucial piece of information out of your presentation or don’t highlight it enough, you’re not even going to make a dent in that interaction.
So, after establishing the problem statement, prove that your idea will also offer a monetary return for the business and facilitate growth. A few examples to do so are:
– Show how your initiative will self-fund within a short period.
– How it will grow in revenue to support its expansion.
– Plan how it will fund other parts of the organization.
ROI is essential in business presentations. Present yourself as the ROI genius to the C-suite executives by learning presentation skills for business leaders.
Even if you spend enough time on the presentation, you can still get into trouble if you fail to properly answer the executive’s questions. Any inaccuracy or carelessness about details when answering questions, especially when it comes to numbers can cost you dearly.
Executives tend to discard the rest of the data if you provide the wrong number. Check your facts, be prepared with sources, and be ready to correct any mistakes you make. Don’t waste your time if you don’t know the answer. Acknowledge it and tell them you will look into it and follow up.
If you can give presentations in front of the company’s top executives, you are considered smart and competent. You don’t have to prove it by jumping right into an idea and sharing endless details.
Instead, provide what your audience wants: an overview of the problem and how you think it can be solved for the company’s benefit. Give them plenty of time to interact with you. That way, you can prove that you’re as smart and capable as they thought you were.
Nothing says more unprofessional than an unstructured presentation. Of course, you don’t want to seem unprofessional and blow a business presentation. But, it’s not as easy to communicate your answer to your audience’s question as it seems.
Here’s the thing, your executives want to follow what you are saying; the logic of your argument. But they need a proper structure to follow your argument.
Here’s how you can do it.
– Use a standard presentation structure or blueprints.
– Revisit the structure of your presentation over and over again.
– Apply MECE principles.
– Segment your content into groups and subgroups.
That’s why public speaking skills
Visual aids are important in a presentation. They are just not everything. Your objective is not to create a pretty presentation but one that communicates your point.
It also doesn’t mean that visual aids are useless. They are a great medium to forward the message. Well-designed visuals that are clear yet effective can elevate a presentation greatly without getting in the way of communicating your point and presenting your data.
Keep these points in mind when creating visual aids for your presentation.
– Adopt a minimalist design ethos. It strips out the extraneous and suits the business setting. It also enhances the focus on what’s most important.
– Make your presentation friendly for visual learners by explaining concepts and ideas with pictures as well as text.
– Get yourself an aesthetic template that is minimalist in design.
– Avoid pie charts, crazy animations, 3D, or random special effects.
– Create easily scannable slides which people can view and understand quickly.
Moreover, you can try adding some humor in your presentation to make it more engaging and attractive. Learn How to incorporate humor in your presentations and make sure you learn & implement these tips.
If you are worried you may mess up a presentation in front of the CEO and other C-suite executives, you’ve come to the right place. Doesn’t matter if you’re a director who leads a team of hard workers or an outsider pitching a game-changer plan to the high-level executives, you’re allowed to feel nervous and anxious.
Huge opportunities tend to stir up plenty of emotions, but a leader stays prepared for all of it and takes help wherever necessary.
So, if you want your presentation to become something that will get you noticed, get your point across, and progress your career, invest in your public speaking skills.
Enroll in our eight-week online public speaking course designed to help born leaders like YOU excel in the corporate world.
Preparing for an upcoming presentation to the C-suite, honing the text of a speech you hope will result in a standing ovation, and making last-minute changes to visuals can all go in vain if you make these mistakes while presenting to higher-ups of your organization. Learn what makes a presentation blow and how to not do that.
We hope this guide to blow a presentation to the c-suite would have helped you and you will surely win your presentation.
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.