• Create the right presentation for the executive audience
  • Plan ahead and prepare the presentation and meeting room
  • Prep like a pro and you’ll present like a pro
The executive presentation is just around the corner. And, you know that it’s gonna come up real quick.

You’re scrambling to get all the data pulled, analyzed and put into easy-to-understand graphical formats. You’re also having to chase down the latest information and updates from your unresponsive coworkers on their portion of the project.

Then, you’ve got to pull it all together in a storyline that you can easily explain and one that will make sense to even the most clueless executive in the meeting.

Beyond developing the Powerpoint deck, you’re also worried about any technical issues in the executive meeting room.

What if the monitor or projector isn’t working?

How do you set-up a web conference bridge for remote attendees?

How do you screen share?

There are a million and one things that are racing through your mind all while you’re still trying to figure out how to arrange the slides, make format edits, find images and clipart, etc.

This executive presentation is really important and you can’t afford to drop the ball on this. You gotta nail this.

Here are the key things that you need to do so that you’re ready to rock.

Know Your Executive Audience

One of the key things you need to have a good grasp on is the target audience. When you’re presenting to an executive group, there will be different personalities and perspectives that you need to consider. Some execs have huge fucking egos while others are more reserved.

The common thread among all of these executives is that they’re often pressed for time and don’t need to know all the minuscule details of the grunt work. What they value most is getting to the main points of the presentation. So, focus more on the key strategic points and less on the tactical working level things.

Follow The Accepted Format

Every company and organization usually has a Powerpoint template format that is used for all presentations. Get a copy of the most recent executive presentation and save it as your template moving forward so that you stay in the loop with company standards.

Next, pay attention to how executive presentations are given at your company. Some companies will follow a strict agenda with background information and history, project updates of milestones and then, final recommendations or requests on your part. Other company formats may reverse the order and put the key decision and/or issue up front at the beginning.

Find the format that your company uses and stick with that. 

Add Your Own Unique Style

Now, following the accepted template and meeting format is always a good thing. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t add a bit of your own style and flair.

This could be adding cool Powerpoint images or creating a more logical format for displaying complex data. Or, even more simply, use other colors in your charts besides the default ones that everyone uses.

Here’s a short 4-minute video clip of how to use color for better chart visualization.

VIDEO: How To Use Color In Your Data Visualization
YOUTUBE: Undatable
LENGTH: 3:46
Just this small change of using different colors on your charts is an easy and great way to add some pop to your presentation. It’ll also help to create your unique professional image at work.

Also, on a side note, be sure to stay away from stupid ass business cliches. You don’t want to come across as being hollow. 

Keep It Readable With Good Font Sizes

You’ve been in stupid meetings before where the slides are just walls of 8-point font that nobody can read. And what makes it even worse is that the presenter is just reading the text word for word.

Blah, blah, blah…blah, blah, blah.

Ugh, this is death by Powerpoint.

When it gets bad, it’s almost impossible to stay awake. You’re falling asleep and pulling head nods. Then, you have to resort to chugging more shitty office coffee to stay alert.

Keep your slides readable by using appropriately sized fonts. Test the readability of your slides by looking at them from the back of the meeting room.

Have Details Ready In Appendices

As mentioned above, you don’t need to have all the details in the main part of the presentation. You should only be including details when it’s relevant to the main point of the slide. Otherwise, keep all of your supporting details and data in the appendix for less mess and less stress.

Set up an appendix title slide at the end of your presentation. Place all of your supporting details in this section. Then, if needed, it’s a quick jump from anywhere in the deck to the specific appendix slide.

For each of your big key points or discussion items, it’s always good to have the supporting information ready at hand so that you can easily refer back to it and show the executive team.

Save Copy In The Network Or USB Drive

While you’re working on the deck, always save your work. There’s nothing worse than losing all of your work when you’re computer decides to check out for the day. Don’t screw yourself here. Save your work often.

Next, when you have the final version completed, save a version of it on the network drive or folder. This way you have an alternate source if you’re computer dies right before or during the meeting. It’s also good because it can help to eliminate desktop digital clutter.

Get Back-Up With Coworker’s Laptop

This is an additional measure of preparedness. Ask your coworker or project teammate to save a copy of the presentation on their computer too. This way, you’ll have a backup ready on deck in case your laptop craps out.

You’ve heard of Murphy’s Law, right?

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

It may not happen at your normal working level pre-meetings, but the odds of things going wrong at the executive presentation typically go up by the same factor as the importance of the meeting.

Prep Meeting Room Ahead Of Time

If you haven’t spent much time in the executive meeting room, then you definitely need to get familiar with things beforehand. You don’t want to be scrambling the day of your presentation to get things set up. Chances are that the room will be fully booked for other meetings and you won’t be able to prep the day of.

So, reserve some time a few days before your presentation to scope out the meeting room. This is critical because if there are any technical issues with the projector, monitor, conference phones, etc. You can ask for helpdesk support now so that they can fix it in time.

Do A Test Run Before The Meeting

While you have the meeting room for pre-checks, this is the perfect time to test all the equipment and do a full test run of your presentation. This is particularly important if your presentation has multimedia elements. You’ve gotta make sure that everything works.

If your meeting also includes remote web attendees, you’ll also want to check that the web conferencing works too. Set up a test session and ask your work BFF to join remotely to check that all audio, video and screen-sharing functions are working.

Check For WiFi Connectivity

If your company’s network is WiFi enabled, you’ll also want to make sure that the WiFi signal is good in the room. This will allow you to access the internet to broadcast your presentation on the web and access the internal network for any files or resources in real time during your presentation.

If the WiFi sucks, now is the time to figure out other options before some bullshit seagull manager points it out during the meeting. Get your IT support folks involved so that they can help. It’s good for them to crawl out of their cubicles once in a while.

Find Closest Outlet & Bring A Power Cord

This may seem obvious, but don’t drive on an empty tank. There are countless times when a presenter’s laptop didn’t have enough juice to last throughout the meeting. This is particularly true if your company is on a tight budget and you’ve got an older laptop that can’t hold a charge for shit.

During your room prep, look for the closest power outlet and if your laptop cord isn’t long enough, you’ll need to get an extension cord. Again, check with your helpdesk or whoever handles facilities related stuff.

Pre-Meeting Mini Meditation

If you plan and prepare well in advance, you should be able to give yourself a little timeout before the actual presentation begins. Having a little downtime just before the meeting is ideal to settle your nerves and mentally reset.

You can do a one-minute meditation outside the meeting room. Or, just do a desk meditation in your cubicle. If meditation isn’t your thing, then a quick walk outside for some fresh air can do pretty much the same thing.

The aim here is to calm any pre-game jitters before the show starts.

Prep Like A Pro And You’ll Present Like A Pro

The executive presentation is coming up and you’re feeling the pressure and nervousness building inside of you. This is totally normal. This kind of stress is a good kind of stress. This will help you get in the zone and get everything ready.

The good thing here is that you’re not putting this off until the last minute. You know all about the crushing effects of procrastination and are smart enough to avoid it by getting everything sorted out ahead of time.

There’s always going to be that small possibility that something’s going to go wrong. But, since you’ll be prepping like a pro, it’s not going to derail you and your presentation. It’ll only be a small hiccup that you’ll be able to brush off.

Start planning now and get things in order.

You’re gonna kick ass on this.

Feel Better,

more on cubicle life