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How to Give a Presentation to Senior Managers

Presenting projects to senior managers gives project managers a chance to show their talent, ability and dedication. It’s a difficult and stressful task, since you are doing it for influential people in your organisation who hold important positions and make key project decisions. Obviously, the pressure is high on you to do it well because a presentation well done can pave the way to future career success.



Make a great start

When planning a presentation, it’s important to keep it simple, short and concise. Senior executives like to get straight to the point and see how they can help you. Very often they will ask you to go back to a previous slide or jump a couple of slides forward to another section of the presentation. This is completely normal and you should interpret these interruptions simply as their way of comprehending the matter and finding a way to help you. Therefore, remove all extra and detailed information and, if you still feel the need to mention them, print that info out and give it to your audience.

The first impression counts so you should do your best to appear self-confident and professional. You want your audience to trust you so you could lead them through presentation with clear direction and outcome in mind. Your seniors attend many meetings and presentations every week so you wouldn’t want to tire them or waste their time, therefore, make sure to state your topic and objective clearly at the beginning.



Know your audience

Determining the type of your audience is key in order to find the best strategy not only to present the matter, but also to relate to them in the most effective way. You should consider the following:

  • Demographics they belong to (gender, age, education, economic status etc.)

  • Their reason for attending (topics of particular interest to them)

  • Their personal preferences and pet peeves (some executives have a strong dislike of certain words or styles)

Preparing the whole presentation and covering all the little details is a tremendous task that can be really overwhelming so it might be a good idea to find a coach to help you out. It could be one of your peers or team members or even executive’s direct reports or assistants. Their knowledge and experience will give you the necessary insight and keep you from derailing.



Good structure and organisation

When you do your homework and research in order to have a better insight into who your audience is, you need to determine the appropriate method of delivery and their preferred receiving style so you can decide on the best form, structure and layout of your presentation. Remember that you are leading your audience through the presentation and there has to be a sense of structure and organisation, from the introduction, through arguments, supporting data all the way to the conclusion. If you still find yourself struggling, turn to more experienced colleagues or sign up for presentation skills training in Melbourne and be sure to get the needed skills in no time.



Use time effectively

Time is of the essence to senior executives since their schedules are usually hectic and their working days are booked sometimes days in advance. Therefore, be sure to fit in the allotted time frame. It helps to do a lot of practice beforehand – rehearse the presentation at home or in front of your peers and ask for feedback so you can make adjustments and improvements, if necessary.

Furthermore, always make time for discussions and questions. It’s not the best outcome when you run out of time leaving no room for your seniors to discuss and determine a plan of action just because they need to run to their next appointment.


Further information

Giving presentations is a skill that can be learned and perfected over time so use every opportunity to work on it and improve. The key lies in meticulous preparation and expecting the unexpected.


Page last edited Feb 07, 2018 History

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