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How to Present to the C-Suite (and Everyone Else)

A suitably seasoned project manager will find him or herself mingling with higher players in the corporate ladder. How should you as a growing ace of a manager give presentations to C-suite executives? In a guest post for A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, Leigh Espy derives the differences between pitching to peers and pitching to executives.

Present Perfect

When pitching any sort of idea or project to peers, you want to explain to your audience as soon as possible why they should care about what you are presenting. It is traditionally recommended to begin by telling a memorable story that relates the idea to the audience’s interests. However, when presenting to executives, you will probably have less time to get your idea across. Thus, you should probably forget about storytelling and give them the bottom line up front.

There are other ways that the audience should change your approach. With peers, you probably want to provide some entertainment value. You might weave a narrative throughout the presentation, in order to create context for stakeholders as you present the information. And if the audience starts to go off-topic from the structure you have created, you reel them in.

But when presenting to executives, you want to focus less on narratives and more on clear, hard data that supports the business case. Additionally, if executives go off your script, you just have to follow them off of it, because they might require information you had not considered. In essence, presenting to executives requires you to be more accommodating.

There are some old standbys to remember regardless to whom you are presenting though:

  • Know your audience
  • Be aware of the various concerns in the room before you present
  • Anticipate the questions that will be asked so that you’re ready to answer or provide the detail they will be requested
  • Do not read from PowerPoint slides
  • Practice, practice, practice!

Strategy is 90 percent of the battle. You can view the original post here:

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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