Clark’s team has been working on this huge project.
For months, it has been countless hours of extensive interviews, intense brainstorming and sleepless nights.
As the team lead, Clark’s immensely proud of the amount of hard work and dedication put in by his fellow colleagues.
One fateful day, he received a call from the secretary – the Director’s secretary.
“Hi, Mr. Wayne would want an update on the current status of your project. Please prepare the deck and be ready to give him a brief next week.”
That’s it. The moment to impress. Almost immediately Clark could feel the crushing weight of responsibility on his shoulders.
The blood and sweat of his entire team hinged on this one update that he had to deliver.
Would he be able to do justice to all the effort that his league of colleagues had put in?
This is different from a business showcase presentation.
Fortunately, here are a few super tips for Clark, to make his presentation soar.
1 – The First Minute is Crucial
Time is immensely precious for Directors like Mr. Wayne.
Before Clark expects Mr. Wayne to.. bat an eyelid, he needs to prove that Mr. Wayne’s time is going to be worth it.
Therefore the brief must open with an executive snapshot of sorts. A powerful opening that succinctly includes these elements:
- An engaging hook (Stunning statistic, rhetorical question, vivid descriptions…)
- The project’s intent (What the project aims to achieve)
- Projected outcomes (What the project will likely achieve)
- Preview of the rest of the brief (What’s going to be covered in the rest of the brief)
This deviates slightly from the “standard” presentation format that opens with just the outline of the entire brief.
Remember, big Directors often have a lot on their minds. They may only have one or two key agendas for the day and may not know what other meetings they are attending, until a few minutes before.
By framing Mr. Wayne’s thoughts right at the beginning, Clark is able to light a clear signal, guide him to stay focused, hence increasing the chances to make an impression out of this supposedly minor brief.
2 – Lead from the Big Picture
Clark may have a laser focused view of the situation on the ground but Mr. Wayne will be more concerned with the larger goals of his Enterprise.
Start from the boss’s point of view. Impress by displaying a heightened level of situational awareness and knowledge. Begin by discussing how the project will help fit into the larger organisational picture.
As with any presentation, knowledge of the audience profile is key.
These are the following that Clark will have to grasp knowledge of, in order to present with maximum impact:
- What are the corporate goals of Wayne Enterprise? What are the positive implications and consequences of the project of the project currently, and in the future?
- What are Mr. Wayne’s KPIs? Profitability? Does he have to answer to the other Directors in the Board for the outcomes of this project?
- What are his hot buttons? KPIs? Social Impact? Justice of cost?
- What’s his processing style? Outcome driven? Relationship focused? Information centric? Does he have a secret identity that behaves differently from his public style?
- How attune has he been with the project? Has he been keeping tabs regularly? Or has he been in a cave all this while?
This portion has to be kept tight and succinct. What Clark needs to do is to fly up to Mr. Wayne’s point of view, then lead him down to the current status and what has been achieved.
3 – Presenting Positively
Keep the tone of the presentation positive and optimistic – something Clark particularly excels at. The business world is complicated as it is. The last thing Mr. Wayne would want is one of his employees giving him further knightmares.
This is the chance for Clark to highlight his and his team’s KPIs, impress with actual achievements, and how close they are to hitting the rest of their goals.
Weave in opportunities to give credit where it is due. Emphasize the team’s effort as a whole towards KPI achievement. It’s an infinitely more positive ring compared to portraying how superhuman the team lead may be.
Of course, an update is neither a bragfest nor an opportunity to hang an emblem on the chest. Mr. Wayne would have expectations on the information he’d be about to receive (since it was promised in the opening), so Clark would have to stay on point.
Even if the situation’s more challenging than expected, no boss would want more problems to be added into his belt, especially not by anyone on his payroll.
Clark has to arm himself with solutions on hand. Show if the problems are solvable within the team’s means, or that additional resources have to be rendered by higher management.
Who knows? He may be able to score a toy or two from the Tech Department if he asks for it.
4 – Declutter
Sure. Mr. Wayne may sometimes seem like he has a supercomputer in his basement or has deductive talents of the world’s greatest detective. But that doesn’t mean that the slides have to be crammed full of facts and data. After all, it’s unlikely that he has x-ray vision to filter out key information from data-intensive deck of slides.
Clark’s challenge would be to keep only the essential items on the slides. Show only what the boss would want to see. Use graphical representations like graphs, charts and infographics to help make sense of information at a glance.
The more convincing done, the less confusion caused, the more impressive the presentation.
What about the other data that didn’t make the cut into the deck?
Supplement them as additional material via handouts! Should the boss need further analysis, at least the data is made immediately available.
Lastly, always leave some time at the end for a Question & Answer session. (And get ready for it – anticipate tough questions early!) Engineer that opportunity for direct engagement, especially if there’s bulletproof confidence in taking any tough questions.
Even if Clark did a presentation so excellent that didn’t warrant further queries, Mr. Wayne would certainly appreciate the extra time before his next meeting.
5 – Impress with Power Presence
One trick to mastering presence, is to be at ease with the audience, no matter what high positions they may hold.
A Wayne vs. Clark atmosphere most certainly spells a doomsday presentation.
Ditch the fear of superiority, maintain the respect, and present from the position of an ally – an ally with aligned values and goals as the listener, who well, just so happens to be the management.
Then, the key to Clark acing the brief, would be preparation.
No matter how short and seemingly easy it may seem, being able to impress with a polished presentation requires adequate rehearsal and meaningful practice.
There will always be those that will downplay the importance of preparation, jump into the meeting, and read off slides for the first time. Well, these jokers would most certainly not score well with Directors like Mr. Wayne.
Finally, it’s more than just what is being said, Clark needs to make his presence felt the entire time. He needs to portray confidence and soft power under those geeky specs of his.
And all these will have to exude from the conviction in his posture, fortitude in his voice and the unwavering faith that he has the ability to save the planet if he was called to.
Well, that’s when all his previous public speaking trainings would come to good use. 😉 #ShamelessAdAlert
That’s it.. 5 super tips for Clark (and for you too!)
Don’t let a lousy presentation mar any hard work that you’ve been putting in.
Now go out there and impress your way to a pay raise!