Start with the bottom line. We don’t want to search for your ask, call to action, solution or recommendation.
Respect our time. Get to the point quickly. Don’t assume our invitation to present and our willingness to listen, includes an invitation to talk about other topics of importance to you.
Be prepared to be interrupted. We will have questions. We will ask them. We likely won’t wait until you announce it is time for Q&A. We will want to explore the current and future context, your understanding, and the consequences of your recommendations.
Be flexible. We may want to focus more on one point over another. We may need to cut your presentation time, but we still need to understand your message and call to action.
Be candid. To make good decisions we need all the facts. If you know something we don’t, share it. That includes the realities of our current circumstances, the risk of maintaining the status quo, and the risks associated with your ideas or solutions.
Do your homework on us. Know what we already know. Before you present understand what we know and believe about the issue, what we value, the criteria we use in making decisions, the pain we are trying to alleviate, and the strategies we are seeking to advance.
Make the connection. Show us clearly and concisely how your ask, call to action, solution or recommendations will: support what we value, align with our decision-making criteria, alleviate our pain, or advance our strategy.
Manage other stakeholders in advance. If you, or we, will need the support or effort of others to execute any decision we are being asked to make, seek commitments for that support and effort before you ask us. Don’t expect us to do your work.
Choose meaning over details. Tell us what your numbers mean. Don’t leave the interpretation up to us. During your presentation, we will be looking for the big picture and bottom line. Crunch your numbers. Understand your statistics. Some of us may want to look at your full analysis, but some of us will not. We certainly don’t want to look at it during your presentation. We also don’t want to be doing the math during your presentation.
Focus on results, not activity. Tell us what has been, or will be, achieved. We may applaud effort (activity), but we act on results.