Avoiding Presentation Melt-Down: Presenting Effectively to the Big Boss

No matter what career you have chosen, at some point you are called on to make a presentation to “the Big Boss”. Whether you’re in a corporation, academic setting, non-profit, or government organization, you will be asked to make a presentation about your project, research, team, or class, etc, to the CEO, VP, Director, Principal, or Department Head – someone who has a great deal of impact on your future within the organization.

Most people called upon to make these presentations are reasonably competent in their area of responsibility or expertise. They usually work hard to put together a presentation that, if not captivating, does a good job of explaining what they are working on, and what results they have achieved or are planning. Yet, more often than we would like, the results of the presentation are less than we hope for. Sometimes, the results are catastrophic – the presenter ends up receiving a public dress-down from the Big Boss, or receives less direct feedback that their presentation (and therefore future career prospects in the organization) didn’t measure up to the Big Boss’s standards. Most of the time, the presenter is left mystified as to why this disaster occurred – after all, they were well-prepared, knew their material, had well thought-through conclusions, and a well-crafted presentation.

The key is to know something about the Big Boss’s personality, and just as importantly, about yourself. A prime cause of presentation melt-downs lies in the difference between the two: in key areas you are speaking the equivalent of a foreign language – without knowing it.

The following links are to a series of articles I wrote that are featured in our newsletter this month that directly address the issues each temperament faces in presenting to bosses different than themselves.  Hopefully, after reading your specific article, you will be armed with information that will make your next presentation to the Big Boss your best ever.

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