HOW LEADERS PREPARE FOR PRESENTATIONS

Mimi Bliss Communications

 

 

It’s easy to lose the forest for the trees when you give a presentation or do a media interview. Yet, my experience of working with senior business leaders is they do exactly the opposite.

Leaders focus on what’s important. They communicate a clear message in words that anyone can understand. They’re conversational, yet intentional.  

Here are tips for presenting like a leader:

Set aside time to prepare and practice. The senior leaders whom I work with on a regular basis are very busy people. Yet, they are effective speakers because they allocate time to prepare for speeches, presentations and media interviews. They don’t wing-it or read off a script prepared by someone else. 

Ask yourself “What’s really important?” before you create your first PowerPoint slide or start writing notes for a presentation. As a client said to me a few weeks ago, everything is easier (and takes less time) when you begin with a clear focus.

Think about your audience. What’s their perspective? It's about what they want to buy, not what you want to sell.

Develop sound bites. Identify a few phrases that communicate your main points. When I work with leaders to prepare for an event, we identify 3-5 key phrases that are easy to remember and repeat. Some of my clients refer to their phrases as “buckets” that allow them to organize their thoughts. Leaders focus on themes, not memorized sentences.

Have a story. Think of something positive that an employee or customer told you about your product or service. Use this information as a story or brief anecdote to support your main messages. Keep it simple. My experience is that we all have stories, but we sometimes overlook the obvious in our search for the “perfect” story.

Looking for more information? The Corner Office by Adam Bryant is a book about leadership that’s based on five years of interviews for the New York Times business column of the same name. Click for Adam’s article about the book and scroll down to the section that’s titled “A Simple Mindset.”

For information about executive coaching and leadership seminars that focus on presentation skills and media interviews, contact me at mimi@mimibliss.com or 615-479-3656.