Presenting to one of your higher-ups make be a nerve racking experience, but it can be a crucial time to stand out as an employee.
A great way to learn how to impress your bosses is to familiarise yourself with the traits other leaders look for in their employees.
Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of “Well Said!,” has interviewed more than 200 senior leaders in Fortune 100 companies. She asked them, “What qualities do you value most in speakers who present to you?”
There were three common responses:
1. Be clear.
“Create a structured message with lucid logic that is easy to follow and understand,” Price says. A well-structured and ordered speech “shows the decision maker that you are prepared and organised,” she says.
It starts with having an effective framework, meaning clear opening, body, and closing sections. Additionally, it’s better to use quantifiable language, such as “25% growth,” as opposed to generalizations like “significant increase,” Price says.
2. Be concise.
“Don’t make executives wait for the punch-line, which tests their patience,” Price says. “Deliver the gist right away.”
Including a preview in your opening is important, but it shouldn’t drag on. Introduce your purpose and key points, and then jump into your main idea, Price says. “Provide supporting material ideally using no more than three key points,” Price says. And finally, close out your discussion with a brief recap and a suggestion of future action.
The goal is to provide an exciting proposition without offering too much information. Deliver the need-to-know facts rather than the nice-to-know details, Price says.
3. Be credible.
Credibility is key in any field, but lacking it will be detrimental to your presentation. There are three main areas where speakers can improve their credibility, Price says:
- Know your audience: Prove that you’ve done your homework and tailor your message around the specific audience.
- Look and sound the part: Use confident body language, dress professionally, and speak with a steady pace.
- Embrace the Q&A: Expect questions and objections, and approach them calmly and confidently. Be honest if you don’t know the answer.
Each of the three traits to high impact communication, if done correctly, work well together. “You will inspire trust in the minds of your key stakeholders and deliver a confident, convincing message that gets results,” Price says.