Have you ever felt the dread that comes along with making a presentation to your boss? Do you remember the heights of anxiety you reached while preparing for it?
Making a proposition can be stressful. Your job may be on the line, and any misstep might have adverse consequences.
Here are a few tips to successfully present to your boss and beat the anxiety:
1. Know Your Audience
When you’re presenting, you’re sharing your ideas, thoughts, and vision with a group of people. These are all people from varied backgrounds and with different worldviews.
As a result, one size doesn’t fit all, and you have to understand who they are to communicate effectively with them.
Presenting to your boss is no different. The same approach applies. For example, if you know that your boss loves data-oriented presentations, you will fail to communicate communicate if you adopt a storytelling approach for a majority of your presentation.
Understand how your boss best perceives and interprets information to most effectively get through to them.
2. Summarize Then Expand
For many executives, time is a scarce resource. A million things are demanding their attention and spending an inordinate amount of time in a meeting is one critical area most senior managers look to cut down on.
As you design your presentation, you need to be aware of this bias so that you can get in there and communicate swiftly and efficiently.
When presenting to your boss, begin with an executive summary of what you will cover.
Make it very concise and easy to understand at a glance so that they can immediately gauge what the presentation is about and how to best approach it.
3. Do Your Research
Presenting to your boss calls for insightful research to back up your idea with quantifiable metrics. What has led you to the assumptions you’ve made in coming up with the idea? Your boss wants to see that.
If you are proposing going after a new target market, have you carried out any research on the segment?
Do you have research to back your reasons for pursuing this audience? Do you possess a keen understanding of their needs based on accurate data?
A well-researched presentation will impress your boss and also be of use to them.
4. Offer Different Perspectives
A presentation to your superiors is never complete without a form of bench marking. As your boss analyzes your proposals, they want to compare it to best practices in that area to gauge its potential.
You need to carry out quality research on past case studies relating to your presentation, and also look at others who have done something similar for comparison.
A staff member pitching for a new product line might compare and contrast the potential product against comparable competitor releases.
In doing this, they demonstrate their ability to do market research and offer an alternative view to the executive that can help them decide on the proposal.
5. Highlight the Benefit
When presenting to your superior, you need to demonstrate the what and the why. Your boss has a core mandate to deliver quantifiable value to the firm.
With every employee presentation, they want to find out how the organization will benefit. Chart a clear path between the topic of your presentation and how the organization will benefit.
For example, if you’re presenting on a digital marketing approach, you need to articulate how the company will receive value given that digital initiatives are hard to quantify regarding ROI compared to traditional media.
How will the firm know if it is making traction with the target audience? When your boss can see a clear benefit, then your presentation leaves an impression.
6. Engage Your Audience
As with any presentation, you need to find ways to bring it to life for your boss to make your point and leave a lasting impression. Use a story or a demonstration that brings the idea to life tangibly and memorably.
If you are making a case for a food product, employ a blind taste test to demonstrate how good the potential product tastes compared to its competition.
Your presentation is more likely to leave a lasting impression if you find some way to engage your audience rather than just speaking to them without interaction.
7. Analyze Costs
Your presentation should factor in the need for your boss to immediately ascertain what the costs associated with your proposal are and how they will impact the firm.
They need to understand it at a glance. Use graphics that communicate statistics in a visually appealing way, e.g., multi-colored trend analysis charts instead of a dreary table of figures.
8. Create Supporting Materials
Once you finish presenting to your boss, provide them with material concerning your proposal that they can take with them.
Your boss will most likely need to consult or deliberate further before making a decision. Putting together a package on your pitch gives them a reference resource when they need it.
Presenting to your superior can induce a lot of anxiety. Preparation is the key. Even if your boss does not go with your pitch, if you can demonstrate that you put the work behind it, they will more likely still be impressed with your work ethic.
With adequate preparation, you can be able to make a positive impression on your boss while successfully making your case as well.