What do you do when you have to present to one or more bosses a project you are very interested in?
Because when the challenges are crucial, there is not just one boss to convince, don’t you think?…
Now, how do you manage the presentation? You can’t just treat it as a routine activity, right?
If you agree, then you might find interesting some actions that in the past helped me to get my proposals approved, even in very difficult conditions: read them carefully, then tell me what you think.
- Be well prepared. Do you know the topic? What should you know and what don’t you? Who can provide you with the information you need? Where can you find them?
- Prepare a good presentation. No frills, no pyrotechnic animations, clear language: you are not talking to yourself and it is not guaranteed that everyone knows the details;
- The presentation should not last more than 20-30 minutes. Remember that time decreases with rising hierarchy;
- Review the presentation with a ‘friendly’ audience. Ask them to challenge every comma: this will help you find the weak points and prepare better;
- Before the presentation remember to drink (water) and go to the toilet. Dry mouth and unplanned breaks seldom get you far;
- Don’t give participants any paperwork before you have finished. Why? They would go and see the highlights (maybe how much the whole “game” costs…) and you would lose their attention, with the risk of compromising the whole work;
- Look all your audience in the eye and keep their attention. Are they on track? Are they listening? When you get to the key points, announce them with expressions such as ‘Now let’s see a key point!’ or ‘This is very important!’ and you will increase the chance of keeping everyone glued to your lips;
- Don’t be afraid of dissent. If there are objections, it is better if they emerge immediately, so that alternative strategies can be worked out in time;
- Take note of comments and suggestions, show interest and make sure you understand. Remember, rarely a boss approves a project without leaving his/her mark;
- Ask how the project can be improved. The more they feel they have contributed to your work, the less they will oppose your ideas. After all, how can they say no to something they feel is also their own?
- If the comments and suggestions for improving your proposal are genuine nonsense, do your best to avoid battles in the meeting. Especially because, if blood were to flow, it would likely be yours. It is wiser to discuss the more “divergent” positions later, perhaps leaving the person concerned the opportunity to renounce them away from any prying eyes;
- Inform the participants that you will send them the material after 1-2 days, when you will have included the comments received: after all, the depth of the suggestions deserves time and work, don’t you think?
- If the situation permits, ask for formal approval of the project. Better to secure the result…
What do you think? Can it work?