3 Tips for Giving a Presentation the CEO will Appreciate

3 Tips for Giving a Presentation the CEO will Appreciate

3 Tips for Giving a Presentation the CEO will Appreciate

Here’s the scenario.

You’re an engineer working at a tech company. Every month, you have to give project status presentations to the CEO and other senior management. You’d rather be having a root canal than give the presentation.

Your presentations could use a lot of work.

You use words during the presentation that you understand, but many in the audience don’t.

You find out they don’t understand the words based on the questions you get after the presentation.

In fact, you get questions after the presentation that you thought you had answered during the presentation!

After the presentation, you think to yourself, “I have to do this again next month?”

CEOs have a lot of demands on their time.

The last thing you want is to waste any of it.

How can these presentations be a better use of their time and yours?   

Here are three tips to ensure your success:

1. Minimize Technical Jargon:
When presenting to a CEO, especially one with a non-technical background, clarity is key, as less jargon makes your presentation more easily digestible. By using commonly understood language, you pave the way for a smoother communication flow. I worked as an engineer in the orthobiologics space. It was a new group to the company I was working for. Many couldn’t spell orthobiologics, let any alone explain what it meant. Orthobiologics is a field of medicine involving using cells, tissues, and growth factors to speed up the healing of injuries to bone and muscle.  My presentations would have gone way more smoothly if I had defined it. I made sure to do so for future presentations.

2. Craft a Clear Call to Action:
In the hustle and bustle of a CEO’s busy schedule, it’s essential to provide a roadmap for post-presentation actions. A well-defined call to action at the end ensures that even if some details are missed during the presentation, the CEO knows precisely what steps need to be taken. With my presentations, the call to action was often requesting more time or resources. My first few presentations didn’t make that quite clear. I learned my lesson, though, after getting the question “what do you need from us?” one too many times.

3. Collaborate with the Administrative Assistant:
Unlock the secret weapon to tailor your presentation for maximum impact—the CEO’s administrative assistant. Reach out to this invaluable resource for insights into what will resonate with the CEO. I’ve gone to the CEO’s administrative assistant with the following questions:

What type of information does your boss need to see for it to be of interest to him?

Does the information need to be in a certain format? If so, what is it?

What types of questions do you think he’ll ask?

The administrative assistant provided answers to the questions, which helped me greatly in giving presentations that were more useful to the CEO. If you’re reading this, thanks Wendy!

These tips will not only make your presentations more comprehensible but also foster better decision-making and collaboration with senior management. A good use of time indeed!