Has this happened to you?
You have an important presentation to make to a senior leadership group and a big chunk of the time is spent talking about ‘background’.
The leaders ask every question under the sun about the history of the program, what you have done in the past and you find yourself repeating your last five presentations. You use precious face time with them looking backwards rather than looking forwards.
This was a hot topic in today’s coaching session with the Senior People Leader at an Australian retailer.
The problem – ‘Mary’ was going into way too much detail in the introduction.
Mary would brace herself for these discussions as they felt a bit like an interrogation and to head off the questions, she included lots of background up front.
She referred to the history of the People Strategy and went into quite some detail about it.
However, in doing this she was also leaving the door open for questions as the first part of her paper wasn’t a complete summary, or perhaps described past events using new words which piqued the Board’s curiosity.
Her strategy was backfiring.
To avoid this, we suggest taking the following three steps
- Tightening your introduction to lead your audience directly where you want them to go (to the So What).
- Including information in the introduction that introduces your topic as it stands right now, avoiding significant backstory
- Linking out to past papers so any decision makers who are new to the group can catch up on any history they were not there to experience.
I hope that helps and look forward to checking in with you again next week.
PRESENTED BY DAVINA STANLEY
I love what I do.
I help senior leaders and their teams prepare high-quality papers and presentations in a fraction of the time.
This involves 'nailing' the message that will quickly engage decision makers in the required outcome.
I leverage 25+ years' experience including
- learning structured thinking techniques at McKinsey in Hong Kong in the mid 1990s before coaching and training their teams globally as a freelancer for a further 15 years
- being approved to teach the Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto in 2009
- helping CEOs, C-suite leaders and their reports deeply understand their stakeholder needs and communicate accordingly
- seeing leaders cut the number of times they review major papers by ~30% and teams cut the amount of time they take to prepare major papers by ~20%*
- watching senior meetings focus on substantive discussions and better decisions rather than trying to clarify the issue
My approach helps anyone who needs to engage senior leaders and Boards.
Recent clients include 7Eleven, KPMG, Mercer, Meta, Woolworths.
Learn more at www.clarityfirstprogram.com
(*) Numbers are based on 2023 client benchmarking results.