ERGs Host “Surviving Executive Presentations” Workshop

Author and trainer Frederick Gilbert has mastered the art of giving a presentation to executives, and last week he came to Yahoo! to help us brush up our skills. Yahoo!'s Employee Resource Groups (of which Women in Tech is a proud member) hosted the 90-minute workshop, which was packed with evidence-based advice on what executives want to see in a presentation -- and how to get your point across effectively.

My favorite tip? Ditch your red laser pointer if you have one, and use an elegant chrome presentation pointer instead. Surveys say that people don’t like the red pointers, and you don’t need a survey to tell you that it’s annoying when a presenter forgets to turn the laser pointer off.

In case you’re prepping for a big presentation, here are some ideas that Gilbert shared:

  • Present your conclusion first. It might get lost otherwise.
  • Remember that C-level executives are under a lot of time-pressure and stress. At any public company, the executive office isn’t where the most secure jobs are, so you’re not the only one who’s nervous. Help your audience make good, informed business decisions quickly.
  • Don't "read" your slides. The slides should accompany and support your presentation – not narrate it.
  • Pay attention to your audience. If people are tuning out or seem distracted, it may be appropriate to ask for feedback during the presentation. It’s better to change direction partway through than to deliver a presentation that the audience doesn’t think is useful.

For more tips on giving great presentations, check out Gilbert's book, Speaking Up, or join the Yahoo!’s Sunnyvale chapter of Toastmasters, which meets every Tuesday in Building D.

We hope you’ll be able to join us at our next activity!