Senior executives are among the toughest crowds you’ll face as a presenter.
They’re often impatient, distracted and abrupt because of busy schedules and high-stakes decisions occupying their minds. So, you must grab their attention right away, or you’ll squander your big opportunity.
Here’s how to earn their attention, interest and support.
1. Summarize your salient points right away.
Say you’re given 30 minutes to present. When creating your intro, pretend your allotted slot got cut to five minutes. This forces you to lead with the key information your audience really cares about—high-level findings, conclusions, recommendations and a call to action.
State those points clearly and succinctly right at the start, and then move on to supporting data and material that enhance your key points.
2. Set expectations.
Let the audience know you’ll spend the first few minutes presenting your summary and the rest of the time on discussion. Even the most impatient executives will be more likely to sit through your main points—without interrupting—if they know they’ll soon get to ask questions.
3. Create summary slides.