Does the thought of presenting to upper management make your knees knock? Do you spend days on the presentation only to spend your 5 minutes in the spotlight talking to your shoes while the executives yawn and sneak peeks at their Blackberries? For many new managers being asked to present a proposal to the company executives is about as much fun as being asked to clean out the port-a-potties at the Boston Marathon. But fear not, you too can get through this management challenge by using the right strategies and techniques.
1. It’s a Commercial – OK so you’re not Billy Mays (which is probably a good thing since he has died and gone to pitch heaven) but you should still make your proposal compelling. Focus on the benefits to the organization and make a solid argument for your point of view.
2. Do Your Homework – Make sure you have thought through the pro’s and con’s. Be prepared for questions that might come up and have some smooth answers ready.
3. Use a Visual – It’s no secret – executives love graphs, charts and other visual aids. Find some research that supports your position (there’s this cool place called “the internet” where you can find a ton of free resources to help save you time and strengthen your case).
4. Brief is Better – Give your headline, throw down your supporting details, wrap it up and let them ask questions. If your concept is compelling, you can give more details (make sure you have them!) but it’s better to wait for that request than to waste the big boss’s time.
5. Polish your Public Speaking Skills – If you would rather die in a fire than speak in public, take a class or find a Toastmasters group in your area. Being able to present your ideas to a group is a skill you will need throughout your management career so it’s well worth a little effort to get comfortable on the podium. Remember that the management team is chock full of people just like you, but if I were you I wouldn’t picture them in their underwear…
Looking for more ideas on how to grow your management and leadership skills? Why not join the Survive Your Promotion group on LinkedIn? Share management and leadership resources, ask questions, make connections and help other emerging leaders!