Presenting to executives and other high-powered decision makers can have unbelievably high stakes. Corporate pitches of this significance can be absolutely nerve-wracking. You should expect no less from a possible career or life-changing opportunity.
Achieving success here isn’t a Herculean task. Use these three tips to become a more confident and effective presenter for when it most counts:
Put the Spotlight on Your Core Message
Executives and board members are busy individuals who have no time to do long conversations. Simplify your pitch and break down your message so that it’s easily digestible.
Keep your discussion on the right track.
Avoid using industry-specific jargon and focus on explaining and expounding on your core message. If you have too much important data that clutters up your deck, put them in an accompanying report or handout.
This doesn’t mean your deck has to be plain and bare. Engage your viewers’ eyes with the right visuals. Despite their status, executives are people too, and would appreciate a good pitch that stands out from the numerous other pitches they encounter daily.
Rely on Evidence and Actual Data
Rhetoric tools are still useful in this situation, but the higher-ups need actionable data based on tangible evidence. You can’t expect them to make high-risk decisions based on unconvincing or misleading information.
This is where research comes in handy. Conduct a thorough and comprehensive study on the subject of your current report. If you can’t do it alone, try mobilizing other departments in your company and ask for help.
At the same time, according to entrepreneur John Rampton, you can also outsource and tap into other references to access the information you need. This may even save you the time and cost.
In terms of deck design, don’t saturate your slides with content. Minimize the amount of text to streamline your corporate pitch deck. If your data relies on showing numbers, then explain them in visual ways like charts, graphs, and diagrams.
Rehearse the Nerves Away
These are high-stake affairs, so your preparation should correspond to the predicted benefit of succeeding.
Be self-critical of your own pitch, determine possible weaknesses in your arguments and prepare for your audience’s possible concerns. Consider the proper clothing choices to match your purpose and the occasion.
Opt for an attire that’s not too flashy or formal. Go for something that won’t throw your audience off but give them a memorable impression of you.
It’s natural to feel more nervous than usual but you can get rid of your fears with constant practice. Practice breathing techniques and a few warm-up exercises to put you in the right state of mind during your pitch. You’ll want to be at the top of your game in front of this crowd, after all.
Getting through and impressing the big leagues requires an even bigger amount of preparation.
Fortunately, sticking close to your message, relying on hard data, and dedicated practice prove vital in getting the best out of your pitch. Keep these tips in mind for when that big break comes.
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Rampton, John. “How Outsourcing Can Save You Money.” John Chow Dot Com. Accessed June 26, 2015.