Executives determine the destiny of a corporation. They rely significantly on their team to get the information to make decisions. These decisions are often made during or after high-stakes discussions using compelling arguments made in presentations. A C-level presentation is like a moment of truth that can create a massive impact and, for you, has the potential to take your career to the next level.
Needless to say, it is non-trivial to create and deliver such presentations. With all their wisdom, experience, expertise, and maturity, they need to hear your message in a way that influences them. Many aspects go into it- some of which we will discuss here.
Six tips for creating an executive C-level presentation
Below are mentioned six tips to help you create a great executive C-level presentation
Discern Your Audience
It would help if you researched what your target audience wants. A basic understanding of how your audience will respond to and receive the content you provide is essential. Hence, before you design your presentation, find your target audience and prepare accordingly. For instance, the CFO may ask questions seemingly unrelated to the content but have a bearing on the overall business context.
Knowing that would help you anticipate those questions and prepare material that will ease your anxieties and give you confidence and make you stand out for your preparation rigor. You should be entirely prepared for anything the audience may throw at you. To get this right, examine successful previous presentations and ask your colleagues who have worked with those executives.
Be Concise and Crisp in Your Message
This is a critical point. C-level executives lack time and tend to get distracted quickly. They usually know what they want from the time they spend with you. Time is the most important commodity for them, and you must ensure they get the most out of it when they sit through your presentation.
However, to quote Mark Twain: ‘If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.’
It takes a lot of planning, thinking, and preparations to hit the mark and be targeted, succinct and concise in your messages. Pay close attention to the context of the meeting, what they already know, and what information is likely to be irrelevant. Sometimes it helps to check whether the topics you plan to cover will be appropriate for the conversation. It also helps to send pre-reads, especially for contextual information, so you can move on to the core point of the discussion and focus on addressing questions.
Graphics, animations, and transitions are explicitly designed for emphasis- keep it that way and avoid overusing them. This is especially true of the C-level executives who can get turned off by any hint of gimmickry and can seriously undermine your messaging.
Use such visual aids sparingly to highlight important ideas or when using such effects is deeply relevant to the topic or messaging. For example, a reveal style transition will make sense if you are revealing a new product idea and want to create that effect specifically. The same effect will become gimmickry if you use it as a transition between your slides.
The presentation content is always more important than the presentation graphics. The presenters’ credibility needs to stay at the top of the pyramid in the audience’s minds- anything that undermines that should be eliminated from the show.
Oversee Questions and Expect Interruptions
When presenting before a C-level executive, you are bound to meet with several questions. They will ask you, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes out of a need to know, and sometimes even to test you so they can feel confident of your ability to handle curve balls.
Be prepared to take detours and return to the main presentation path as you face these questions. Responding to questions in a crisp, focused way can help you regain control of the material. Sometimes you may find that the questions are addressed in subsequent slides.
Some tactics you can use in this situation are:
Despite these, if questions come up, try to give a short version of the answer and state that a more detailed response is coming in the subsequent slide, and you could address the follow-ups at that point. This would demonstrate your respect for the audience, allow you to continue along your storyline, and help you earn credibility as someone in control of the situation.
Start With the Conclusion That Your Presentation Is Aimed At
Yes, you heard that right! Show the conclusion slide in the beginning and then fly through the presentation to reach that conclusion again. It is one of the most preferred ways to get through to your C-level executive audience.
It removes the element of suspense and ends up sharply focusing your message. The audience knows exactly what to expect- they will still be at the edges of their seats to review how you arrived at the conclusions, but they will thank you for following what is known as pyramid thinking.
Some tools of how this is achieved are the usage of an Executive Summary slide, carefully adding supporting slides that lead to conclusions, and above all, keeping it short and to the point yet having the detail at hand.
Keep the Short and Long Versions Ready
You might have been allotted a time slot for your presentation. There needs to be certainty of how long your presentation will be, and several interruptions questions might increase the total time. Therefore, C-level executives have unpredictable schedules. They might leave for urgent work after just 5 minutes at the meeting. Hence you should keep a long and short version of your presentation. This will help you cover up points even in a short time in an emergency.
Now you are all set to start with your first C-level presentation. Utilizing free Google slides templates and PowerPoint templates can make your work much more manageable. However, you must keep all these pointers in mind to get the most out of your C-level executive’s presentation.
SlideUplift provides beautiful templates and apt designs for your specific presentations. Your presentation will stand out from the rest when you use pre-made professional designs. Also, it’ll make your work a lot easier.