As we discussed in the first part of this series, presenting to the C-SUITE can be a nerve-racking experience for even the most assiduous of us. But it doesn’t need to be. That’s why I’m helping you have the most successful presentation ever with these diamond-studded tips on how to present to the C-SUITE (sans the nausea).
As we covered in the first part, we need to know our audience. AKA we need to understand WHO the C-SUITE is—inside and out. From there, we need to know how we can add value to the C-SUITE. That’s what we are going to cover in the second part of this series.
Sample Ways to Add Even More Value to the C-Suite
- MAKE KEY INFORMATION EASIER TO UNDERSTAND
Don’t use acronyms or internal lingo unless you’re positive every single person in attendance will know what they mean. Take out any fluff. Fluff = details that do not lend important insight. You may think it sounds better with a few extra sentences here and there but all the C-SUITERS care about is the bottom line.
- MAKE RELEVANT INFORMATION MORE INTERESTING
Use unexpected vocabulary, metaphors, and strong visuals to add as much personality to your message as you can. Instead of referring to the elephant in the room, maybe mention there’s a rhinoceros in the dining room. What is super boring is clichés. Don’t tell them you’re going to increase alignment across cross-functional teams, and achieve efficiencies, and bring synergies, and be more agile. Pick one.
- COMMUNICATE MORE IN LESS TIME.
Brevity is your best friend. If you were given 30 minutes for the meeting, get your content down to 25 and leave the last few minutes for questions. Ending early will be a pleasing surprise for your busy audience. Everything you say needs to support your purpose for speaking in the first place.
- HIGHLIGHT AN UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY
This will show you go the extra mile. You don’t just provide information, you provide valuable intel, or even insider information. Your expertise gives you a unique perspective that the C-SUITERS may not have, bring that to the forefront.
- SELL THE VALUE OF RUNNING AN EXPERIMENT
What if? C-SUITERS rarely get to the position they’re in without taking any risks, but these risks have to be calculated. The idea of a new possibility can be exhilarating and potentially profitable. If you see a possibility, something you can try, tell your audience why doing so could help the company with its long-term goals.
- OFFER RECOMMENDATIONS OF A NEW SERVICE/ADD-ON/FLAVOR
Find something creative/unexpected/unusual that could be a part of your company’s offering. People are affected by unique experiences. Just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t. So put your thinking cap on and come up with something new your company could be providing. Maybe use an example from a totally different industry.
- SUGGEST WAY(S) TO REDUCE FRICTION
Big or small, even the seemingly most minimal change can make a big difference. And the C-SUITERS will appreciate your problem-solving mentality. The more you are perceived as a proactive go-getter, the more you will be seen as a trusted leader. How does this automation you’re suggesting actually reduce friction in bringing the X to market, or adding the feature?
- SHARE HOW TO MAKE PROCESSES FASTER AND BETTER
We all know the status quo is not going to be the best way forever. BUT someone has to suggest an improvement for things to improve. (Funny how that works). If you see a glitch or a way to streamline the process you’re a part of, say it!
- RAISE THE ENERGY IN THE ROOM
Smile, make a joke (even if it’s at your own expense), stand up as tall as you can, do a few jumping jacks right before you begin (ideally not in front of your audience…). As the presenter, it is your job to manage the energy in the room. The higher you can raise it, the more receptive your audience will be to what you have to say.
- SOLVE A PERFORMANCE ISSUE
The solution may seem obvious. But you have to remember that the C-SUITERS are seeing things from a bird’s eye view, your perspective is zoomed in. If you see a solution to a current problem in the company—even if it’s a small one— bring it up.
We need your Point of View (aka POV). And so does your company. Presenting to the C-SUITE can be your time to shine and show more of what you have to offer, even if it’s not a big title (YET). Use these tips as starting points to make your next presentation to the C-SUITE the most intentional, interesting, awe-inducing one they’ve seen yet.