Does your Board want to hear what you have to say? As we move into bigger leadership roles in our organizations- whether it be for-profit or non-profit- one of the opportunities we will have is to make presentations to our Board of Directors. As I coach rising-star leaders I realize Board presentation is a skill that is rarely taught or coached. What can you do to learn this skill? Here are seven steps to consider and incorporate to improve your Board presentation skills.
- Why are you meeting? Know your Board. Boards of Directors exist to provide strategic direction and vision. They also provide finance and compliance oversight. They are not there to make management decisions. Members of Boards are generally chosen to bring diverse experience and business perspectives. How does this affect your presentation? You need to be thinking at an executive summary level. In other words, you do not need to share every one of those beautiful spreadsheets you created and are proud of. They need to see the big picture. Also, be aware of acronyms that are common internally to your business but may not mean anything to your Board.
- Own the room. When we can meet in person again, enter the room with confidence and choose a seat. If you enter with uncertainty and timidly you will lose your impact before you say a word. Some larger Boards actually have a seating protocol so ASK before you walk in if there is a specified seat for the presenter.
- What value are you giving today? Begin your presentation with an overview of the following three questions to help your Board process the information you’re presenting:
- Why are you sharing this information?
- What does it mean to your organization?
- What do you need from them? Is this for information only, do you need input, or do you need a decision?
- Bring energy and expression to your information and time with them. Board meetings can get long! Don’t become the opportunity for a snooze.
- Ask for questions. A question is not a challenge- it is an honest request for further information. You might consider finding out in advance of the meeting which member often has questions and the types of questions he/she asks. This will help you prepare yourself for the question as well as give you confidence in your response. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be ready to respond with calm and confidence “I will do some further research and get back to you.”
- Post-meeting ask a trusted peer to critique how you did. What went well and what could you do better. You could offer to do the same for your peer if you have the opportunity.
- Remember you are not only making a presentation…you are making an impression.
As a Board member myself and also having made many Board presentations, I know that if you communicate with your Board using these strategies you will WOW them and they will look forward to future presentations from you.
If you are interested in enhancing your leadership skills, coaching provides the structure and support you need to develop as a leader. If I can help you in your leadership journey you can connect with me at The Bailey Group. I would love to help.