I was awarded as a Top Performer in a global MNC company during my first year straight out of college. I even received recognition from the global CFO during my early years. He was someone at least six level higher than me in the company hierarchy back then.
Frankly, I had been presenting to C level executives, GMs and senior managers ever since my first role. I am pretty good at it and here, I will share a few tidbits that formed the core of my presentation skills.
I picked these up when I was preparing my management consulting interviews back in college.
1. Be precise. Be concise.
Executives are busy people. Let say that I am the CFO of a large company.
There are so many things that require my attention each day. If I am willing to spare time for you, I am expecting you to be quick about it and let me know the core message in the fastest time possible.
Use the rule of 3. I suggest you to do this. Because of this, this, this. This is an oversimplification but you get the gist.
2. Come up with a Solution, Not a Problem
Let’s say I am still the big shot CFO. Everyday, I am inundated with problems. Fires that I have to put out.
I don’t appreciate it if I go into a meeting with you and you present me with another problem that I have to solve.
My headspace has only so much room for a few things at once. Instead, come out with a solution, or maybe a few solutions.
You can state the problem, but quickly put out the solutions. Give me the reasoning and supporting behind them.
That way, I can quickly decide on a direction to head to, and clear another thing off my agenda. Fast and efficient.
If you can do this, the thought at the back of my mind is that you are a problem solver, not a problem giver, and will favored you with opportunities next time.
Change this around and say that I will be meeting the CFO instead. There is a problem that I have to present.
The best I can do is to prepare beforehand. Know the problem. Segment and identify the key issues. Brainstorm solutions. Anticipate the concerns and answer them before executive could ask.
Keep the executive nodding and saying yes throughout the meeting. The best response you can get is: “I’ll leave it in your capable hands.”
3. Be a Storyteller
The best executives are good storytellers. To connect with them, you need to be a good storyteller yourself.
It is how the executives climbed to their position in the first place. They preached their own stories to those before them and to those they are beholden to.
There is a science behind this. Humans respond well to stories. Executives are humans too. Use stories to sell your message.
Frame an image through efficient usage of words. Paint the picture of words and let their minds interpret your message.
It will leave a deeper impact.
If I am the before mentioned CFO, I will leave the meeting happy that the fire is contained. However, I will always remember the message and who spoke it, simply because I remember the story.
Here’s a quick story. Let say that I am a butler and trying to convince the house owner to leave a burning house. “Sir, the house is on fire. You should leave the house immediately. First, the fire is too big and spreading far too quickly to be put out by the fire extinguisher. Second, your children and wife are safe and had already left the house. Third, you are too fat and out of shape and you will burn to a crisp if you don’t get out of the house now!”
A quick story and use of the rule of 3.
4. Most Important Tip
And here’s the most important tip that I learned and applied. It never failed me. You should