9 Tips to Create Executive-Ready Presentations

You are tasked with creating a presentation for your C-level executives. This is your chance to rise and shine and make a big impact in your company. However, if you do not create a powerful presentation, you will end up wasting the time of your key executives, and most importantly, end up ruining your credibility. […]

You are tasked with creating a presentation for your C-level executives. This is your chance to rise and shine and make a big impact in your company. However, if you do not create a powerful presentation, you will end up wasting the time of your key executives, and most importantly, end up ruining your credibility. These tips will help you create a robust deck, well-suited for senior executives.

Tip #1: Keep it Short

Executives have little time and short attention spans. You want to get straight to the point and only include details that are necessary. A good practice is to temporarily delete some content from a slide to check if it still delivers your key message. If it does, you can permanently delete that piece of content. Repeat this exercise until your slides only have the absolutely necessary content.

Tip #2: Keep it Visual

You have heard it a million times – a picture is worth a thousand words. Use this principle when creating decks. Use charts, images, and graphics whenever possible. This will help you convey more information while keeping the deck short, and will make it easier for your audience to understand your presentation.

Tip #3: Keep it Simple

Do not use animations or any fancy graphics. They do not add any value and hurt your credibility. Keep things as simple as possible. It will save you time and make your presentation more professional.

Tip #4: Keep it Universal

Make sure your presentation works as you intended on all platforms, devices, and settings. You never know where it might be viewed. Your audience may view it on a tablet or smartphone, or can view it in a setting where they are unable to see the video you have added to the slide. It is best to create presentations that deliver the key messages in any setting.

Tip #5: Start with Key Takeaways

Another best practice is to include a slide or two in the beginning highlighting the key takeaways of your presentation. This will help you get started on a strong note and set the right tone for the rest of the presentation.

Tip #6: Keep it “Scan-Friendly”

A lot of executives will initially just “scan” a presentation that they receive. Make it easier for them to scan the presentation by adding the key takeaway of each slide at the bottom or in the title. Also, make sure that each slide only has one major takeaway.

Tip #7: Set Time Requirement Expectations

Executives will appreciate if you let them know in advance how much time will be required to review your presentation, especially if they are receiving it in an email. Set the time requirement expectations on the first page of your deck, e.g. “Time Requirement: Quick Scan – 10 minutes, Detailed Review: 30 minutes”.

Tip #8: Use Color Coding

Use color codes to “train” your audience to better view your presentation. E.g. use blue fonts to write all your key takeaways on slides. After viewing 4-5 slides, your audience will automatically look for blue fonts to view the key takeaway of that slide. This will help your audience save time while getting the needed information.

Tip #9 Use the Appendix Wisely

Use the Appendix to provide any additional information that may be helpful in understanding the presentation. Make a list of most likely follow-up questions that viewers / readers will have, and answer those questions in the Appendix. This helps you keep your core slides clean while including all the needed information.