SlideRocket Blog

Presenting to Executives Like Your Career Depends On It

By John Rode on November 28, 2012

Good executive presentation skills are critical to business success. As your career expands, you’ll have opportunities to inform upper management – chances to showcase your ability to think and act strategically.

You can instill confidence or entirely blow it. Use this guide to help you think strategically about your next executive level presentation, and take your career to the next level.


Pique their interest ahead of time.

Email them a nugget of information or slide from your presentation. Or pose a question to spark interaction during the meeting.

Don’t wing it.

Give yourself plenty of time to set up and make certain everything works properly. You’ll be more relaxed. Besides, avoidable breakdowns are embarrassing and make you look incompetent.

Practice, so you don’t stumble or ramble.

You might be good at extemporaneous speaking, but resist the temptation. You don’t want to risk wandering off topic or forgetting to make a key point. You’ll impress upper management far more by exhibiting strong executive presentation skills. So practice with a friend or coach to refine your message and hone your performance.

Get to the point.

Executives are busy. And no one ever complained about sitting through a succinct, meaty presentation. Staying on point shows you respect their time.

Less is more when it comes to executive presentations. Keep your slides simple, only to emphasize key points — if your audience is reading, they aren’t listening to you. Including links to external websites enlivens your talk and shows you’re tech-savvy, but don’t overdo it.

Grab their attention right off the bat with a startling statistic or your own surprising conclusion.

Are they rapt? Or wishing you’d wrap it up?

Watch for feedback that indicates you should call a break or ask a question. And speaking of questions, anticipate what they may ask so you’re fully prepared, especially if your topic or conclusions are controversial.

Don’t waste time belaboring the details. Instead, create appendix slides for supporting data or reference details. Tell them you’ll email the entire presentation afterward, so they can learn more on their own.

Be engaging but not informal. Persuasive but not argumentative. Concise, well-reasoned executive presentations demonstrate your organizational ability and aptitude for creative-but-sound thinking. Just the sort of person managers seek to promote.

So make every executive presentation count. Because your career probably does depend on it.

Be sure to check out our other helpful presentation guides:

Presentation Design

Presentation Skills

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