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Common Mistakes to Avoid when Presenting to Executives- Leading With Context

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Presenting to Executives- Leading With Context

Most professionals begin their presentations by sharing background information, details surrounding the circumstances for you being there, or explaining the journey of a product or service. While context is important, it inadvertently obscures your purpose. Starting off with too much context up-front can mean you risk executives disengaging quickly.


352 reads

Talking Too Much or Rambling

You may fall into the trap of believing a longer presentation equates to greater value. In other words, you may assume that the more data and justification you present, the stronger your case will be. This isn’t true. Executives value brevity. It signals your mastery over a subject.


202 reads

Being Too Attached to Your Script

Being Too Attached to Your Script

It’s crucial to prepare in advance of meeting with executives, but there is also such a thing as over-preparation. Often, clients rehearse their talk word-for-word. This backfires when your time slot is cut short or an executive throws an unexpected question your way, like in the scenario described earlier.


187 reads

How to Present to Executives with Confidence: Plan A Preemptive Meeting

How to Present to Executives with Confidence: Plan A Preemptive Meeting

Pre-wiring is a form of doing your homework, and serves as few purposes:

  • You can surface concerns and defuse objections, making negotiation easier.
  • You can gain valuable insight about what executives already know and potential gaps in knowledge so you can tailor your content.
  • You can uncover new details or consideration that lead you to adjust your presentation.
  • You can research their biggest pain points and criteria for making decisions.


136 reads

Focus on “B.L.U.F.”

Focus on “B.L.U.F.”

“B.L.U.F.” is an acronym that comes from the military and stands for “bottom line up front.”

Instead of making the mistake of leading with context, you instead get to the point quickly. You begin

your presentation with the most important information first – whether that’s your request, call-to-action, solution, recommendation, or key conclusion – which helps you be perceived as a crisp, concise communicator.


137 reads

Make Your Material Memorable

Make Your Material Memorable

Another useful model is the SCQA format:

  • Situation. What is the context? Who are the players involved?
  • Complication. What is the problem? What are the risks and opportunities?
  • Question. What is your hypothesis? How can you overcome hurdles or capitalize on opportunities?
  • Answer. What is your proposed solution? What data or insights back up your conclusion?


117 reads

Hit All the Areas of Concern

Hit All the Areas of Concern

The job of an executive is to focus on the bigger picture of an organization. They deal in vision and strategy, not implementation and execution. That’s why your presentation needs to focus on the what and why, not the how.


105 reads

Keep It Flexible

Keep It Flexible

Executives are notorious for interrupting. They will have questions, and they won’t wait until the formal Q&A time to ask them.

One strategy is structuring your presentation like an accordion. In other words, design it so that you can expand or shorten it as needed.

Lastly, leave ample time for discussion. Follow the 10/30 rule: if you have 30 minutes on the agenda, plan for 10 minutes of content and earmark the rest for interaction. Anticipate questions seniors leaders may have, so that you’re ready to answer them on the spot.


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