PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

Senior executives don’t want surprises and don’t want people using up their limited time.

These “don’ts” are understandable and reasonable.

What is not always reasonable is how these “don’ts” lead to inflexible rules that subordinates have to follow when presenting to senior managers.

Two common ones are: 1) you must turn in your completed presentation days before you are scheduled to deliver it, and 2) you have to say, up front, on the first slide, what you are proposing.

These rules might eliminate surprises, and force presenters to “get to the bottom line” right away, but they also lead—very often—to subordinates not being given an opportunity to present their full message.

They carefully plan their explanation of a complex proposal but, before they can go through it, managers jump straight into questioning and criticizing out-of-sequence points and the conclusions.  Subordinates are forced into a defense of their ideas without first being given an opportunity to develop them.  Then, to add insult to injury, they are criticized afterward for not having delivered a well-reasoned, persuasive argument.

Yes, executives should demand clear, concise presentations that don’t waste time.  And, yes, they should not be hit with anything they should have been warned about in advance.  But, no, they should not routinely deprive subordinates of an opportunity to go through the full message they have worked so hard to develop.

Give them a chance to make their case.

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