For business leaders, marketing teams, and sales professionals, presenting to the board can be a major career event. It can be an incredible opportunity to demonstrate your value to directors and executives, guide the decisions of your management team, and even unlock new opportunities.
Of course, presenting information to board members isn’t without its challenges. Even if you have excellent communication skills and plenty of brilliant data to share, it can be difficult to engage executives and encourage them to see things from your perspective.
Here’s everything you need to know to prepare and deliver a transformational presentation.
The first step in nailing any presentation, is understanding your audience.
Just as customer success professionals need to understand the needs and challenges of their contacts when delivering marketing materials and onboarding resources, professionals need to know their board members before issuing a presentation.
When you understand the priorities and pain points of your audience, you can create a presentation that resonates on a deeper level. Ask yourself:
What does the board care about?
First, establish what matters most to your board of directors. For instance, if you’re presenting an idea for a new ABM marketing strategy to your C-suite, they’ll likely want insights into how much work and money is required to implement the new solution, and what the core benefits will be.
You can get an insight into the priorities of your board members by looking at their decision-making process, and their work processes. Try and collect as much relevant data for your directors as possible, covering everything from expected ROI, to potential challenges.
What are their main objections?
In sales, understanding the core objections your customers are likely to have throughout their purchasing journey can improve your chances of conversions. Similarly, knowing the concerns of your board members will help you prepare answers to common questions.
For instance, a management team of executives is likely to have concerns about the cost of implementing a new project, the timeline required, and the risks that may need to be overcome. Make sure you’re prepared to handle any objections your board might have.
What are their preferred communication styles?
While face-to-face presentations are still common in the modern world, they’re far from the only option. Today, professionals can give presentations through messaging and collaboration tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, or even host entire events through Zoom.
Just as it’s important to choose the right communication platform for your conversation, it’s also worth thinking about the type of information your audience will respond best to. Do you want to include lots of statistics and graphs in your presentation, reviews from customers, or illustrations?
Once you’ve gathered as much information as possible about your target audience, it’s time to start planning your presentation. An effective plan helps to ensure your presentation is structured, impactful, and easy to follow.
To begin with, start by establishing the objectives or goals of your presentation. In other words, what do you want to accomplish? Are you trying to convince your executives to implement a new training method for your team? Do you want to ask for a promotion or more responsibilities? Or are you just sharing information to help drive better business decisions?
Once you have your goals:
It’s also worth setting up for your presentation as early as possible. Don’t arrive at a board meeting at last minute and force executives to wait while you configure your technology. Set up everything early, and do a run-through of your presentation to ensure everything works.
No matter the goals of your presentation, the core focus will always be on driving action from executives and business leaders. To do this, you need to ensure your presentation leaves a lasting impression on your audience. Effective planning will help with this, ensuring you can tailor your message to the board members you want to reach.
However, you can also improve your chances of success with:
Your board of directors, executives, and your management team are busy people with a lot on their plate. It’s easy for them to become distracted during a presentation if you’re not taking steps to ensure constant engagement. Based on what you know about your board members, look for ways to boost engagement. One excellent strategy is to experiment with media.
Rather than just creating a series of boring slides and going through them one by one, capture your audience’s attention with pictures, videos, music, and infographics. Another option is to look for ways to make the presentation as interactive as possible.
Instead of waiting until the end of the presentation to ask if anyone has any questions, ask questions yourself throughout the discussion. After you introduce a piece of data, ask if everyone understands it, has any questions, or has any objections.
If, for any reason, you can’t answer a question your board has, let them know you’ve heard them and will respond as quickly as possible. For instance, you can say, “I don’t have that information on hand, but I will make a note to respond with an answer by the end of the day.”
Sales and marketing professionals know following up with their audience is the key to driving action and increasing conversions. Similarly, if you want to ensure your presentation drives the right results, you need to commit to following up with executives and business leaders.
Following the presentation, send an email or message to each attendee, covering the key topics and action items covered in the presentation. Remind them of your proposal, and ask for feedback on when you can expect a response.
If you don’t get an immediate response, follow up again, asking your board whether they have any additional questions you can answer, or what you can do to get the ball rolling on your new initiative. Remember, executives are busy people, if you don’t follow up regularly, they could forget all about your presentation within just a couple of days.
Presenting to a board of directors can be a daunting concept, but it’s often crucial to initiating positive action in any business. If you want to move forward with a new project, gain support for an initiative, or even boost your chances of promotion, you need buy-in from your business executives.
With the right presentation, you can demonstrate the potential of your ideas in any easy-to-follow format that drives a positive response.
Learn more about how to interact with your management team, nail presentations, and improve your chances of success by joining the Hypcccycl community today.
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