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                                                                                 - Roberta Prescott


 

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NEWSLETTERS


Presenting To Decision Makers

by Roberta Prescott

"The number one criteria for advancement and promotion for professionals is their ability to communicate effectively."
- Harvard Business Review

Do you spend more than half your business life in small group meetings? Do you have only ten minutes to get your point across to senior management?

When the spotlight is on you, you can either shine, or damage perceptions about your potential.

Here are some guidelines to help your presentation image match your ability:

DO YOUR PRE-MEETING HOMEWORK
     Test your core message with colleagues
     Surface potential objections
     Ask for support
     • Know meeting details e.g., Is it the culture to present standing
       or sitting? Use PowerPoint or Handouts? Distribute handouts in
       advance? Have participants use them as notes?

     Tips:

             Hallway, coffeepot, and elevator conversations are 
     
         informal ways to gauge off-line reactions
             Check with the decision maker's administrative
              assistant for information and hot buttons

ANALYZE THE DECISION MAKERS
     Their priorities
            Everything must fit with the business plan?
            Competitive advantage?
           Metrics?
           Quality?

           The Customer?
     Their style
           Impatient -- Cut to the chase -- “What’s your point”?
           Logical -- No emotions in business decisions
           Likes to interrupt / engage you in conversations
           Probes your reasoning
     Their preferred way of receiving information
           Interested in business outcomes, not the process
           Get to the bottom line / the nub of the issue quickly
           Be prepared, specific and thorough with details
             when questioned

     Tip:

           Don't be blindsided. Priorities change. Work
             your network.

WHAT QUESTIONS MIGHT BE ON THEIR MIND?
     Do you understand the big picture?
     Why will your strategy work?
     How does this support our strategic goals?
     How will this move us forward?
     Do we have the resources?
     Are we headed for trouble?
     What's the competition doing?
     Downside risk? Success factors?
     Will we meet the deadline? Why not?
     What could you accomplish with less money?
      What action do you want me to take today?

     Tip:

           Keep an information reserve. Know the answers to
             every question you think you might be asked, but
             don't address all of them in your presentation.

THINK IT THROUGH
     Ask yourself: Where are we? Where do we want to be? How
       are we going to get there? Is there a problem, and how
       important is it? What are the solutions? What milestones will
       we use to define success?

     What's the benefit? Remember six important words -- "This is
       important to you because … “
     What is your core message? Can you say it in a sentence?
     Tip:

           Design your strategy and customize your message to
             the decision maker's mindset.

ORGANIZE YOUR MESSAGE
     First and last impressions are important. Design a strong
       opening and close

     Back up each key point with evidence -- examples,
       statistics, etc.

     Avoid a data dump by making sure your information passes
       the "so what / who cares” test

     Write your headlines concisely, and repeat them often
     Flag important information. e.g., "The key thing to
       remember is ... "

     Use transitional phrases to link significant points in a smooth
       and natural way

     Tip:

           Use an appendix for the details that you can't let
             go of.

© The Prescott Group

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© The Prescott Group
11 Tunxis Avenue, Bloomfield, CT 06002       
Tel: (860) 242-9299   Fax: (860)243-2567
www.theprescottgroup.com