Executive Forum Recap: Delivering a More Purposeful Presentation
In our monthly executive forums, we explore ways to grow your interim career and secure the opportunities you want. This month, we share insights from Larry Haas (CEO of Global Aperture) to help you improve your purposeful presentation skills—whether presenting ideas to current clients and audiences or prospective ones.
As an interim or fractional executive, you’re often called to make presentations to an array of audiences, both large and small. Those might include presentations to potential clients, company founders, the finance community, other C-Suite executives, boards of directors, and even global associates. You can have the very best ideas and plans, but if you can’t present them in a way that resonates with your audience(s), they’ll never get accepted or implemented. Therefore, you need to ensure your presentations are the best they can be.
Top 5 Mistakes Presenters Make and How to Avoid Them
Mistake #1: Starting weak
A solid introduction is crucial. Make a strong first impression by establishing your credibility and being likable. Communicate your competence as a professional, including your project experience and your results. Next, promote your own likability – strive to be genuine and authentic. Build common ground (by connecting with the audience through relatable stories). Promote and integrate your team (if it’s a team presentation). And model your own message (don’t promote the idea of “do as I say, not as I do”).
Mistake #2: Not understanding or engaging your audience
Many presenters like to talk about their experiences from their own perspectives. It’s better to analyze and get to know your audience personally and professionally. Seek to learn about their FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). Spend time in their world so you can address what matters to them, and how they need to act or think differently. Try to see things from their perspective and address their question of “what’s in it for me?” The goal is to find enough common ground that your message will resonate.
Mistake #3: A distracting delivery
Your delivery won’t make your presentation, but it certainly could break it. Strive to be interesting to watch. And work hard to avoid common delivery issues like apologizing for your presentation; talking too softly; using a lot of verbal pauses (e.g., um, like, okay); excessive movements; not getting to the point; and using meaningless gestures. Instead, try to build emphasis through good posture, movement, compelling gestures, strong voice, and eye contact. Be dynamic enough to impress even the back row.
Mistake #4: Ignoring Murphy
We all know about Murphy’s Law. But as you prepare for your presentation, it’s smart to know that (based on Larry’s personal experience) Murphy’s Law will likely strike at least three times in the last 24 hours before your presentation. It’s notoriously true. Therefore, be prepared for the unexpected (e.g., presentation logistics, content problems, last-minute additions, IT problems or other unknowns). Respect Murphy’s track record so you can be mentally prepared.
Mistake #5: Thinking it’s all about you
After building personal and professional credibility (which IS about you), use your remaining time to focus on the outcome of the presentation. Whether the outcome is a decision, a resolution, a proposed plan, an approved design, or a solution to a problem, in the end, your job as an interim executive is to create positive outcomes for your client organization. Focus on the job at hand and the solution you were hired to deliver.
Want to keep growing your interim career? Implement tips from our entire blog series, and stay close to Cerius Executives to land the roles you want.