An executive's time is valuable. These individuals go from meeting to meeting. It is not unusual for them to have as many as 10-15 meetings a day.
For Marvin White, Chief Technologist for Innovation at ESPN, a sports entertainment programming network says, "it's all about ideas and figuring out how to execute them.
An interview with Marvin produced the following suggestions on how to succeed when presenting for an executive audience:
1. Arrive with your ideas well thought out
I don't want to try to figure out what the presenter is proposing. I want to get the point and get it quickly. I have a million things on my plate. Keep your ideas tight and concise.
2. Be ready with the data that supports why your idea is a worth listening to
As the CTO, I am responsible for making correct decisions, investing wisely. If you are going to pitch to me, I need your points well supported. Don't show up without the data. On the other hand, people may give me too many details. It makes it difficult to keep everything straight.
Presenters who offer too much information usually do a bad job and go down a rat hole. Again, come in with your ideas well thought out. Think about what information I need to make a decision. Then, stop!!!
3. Show you understand your audience
In the sports entertainment business, empathy for the viewers is critical. You absolutely have to get into the shoes of the sport fans. You must consider how this would relate or be perceived by a variety of audiences.
4. Don't recite a script
I need to be engaged. Ask for my input, my concerns. I am probably going to interrupt you anyway. It makes a better impression on me if we are having a dialogue. I am not a big fan of monologues.
5. Winging it doesn't usually work, unless you're really, really smart
Be ready for some tough questions. Think about what I might ask ahead of time in order to decide.
6. Consider a "Show and Tell"
It's OK to show me PowerPoint, but I am more excited by video clips or examples of devices, such as a hockey puck with electronics. I don't hate slides, but often, it is just not the best way to present the information. Live demonstrations or animated computer clips really help to focus the discussion.
7. Be truthful
In this business, it is easy to indulge in wishful thinking. Be upfront, clear and honest, and you won't go wrong with me. It is important that I stay on top of people's projects. Tell me the milestones. What's difficult or risky? What are the ramifications of not doing something? Be candid. Show me how your idea fits into the business.
Regardless of your industry, Marvin White offers solid advice for ensuring successful presentations for executive audiences.
Apply his suggestions and you will undoubtedly gain and advantage.