How NOT to be INTERRUPTED at LT & Board presentations
A number of my mid-level, executive clients are frustrated when delivering important presentations to their Leadership Team or Board.
They’re frustrated because soon after they start speaking, a member of the Leadership team or Board often interrupts them.
This interruption interferes with their speaking flow, and turns into a free flowing discussion between the leaders in the room, leaving the presenter stranded and often resulting in deferring the decision on the matter at hand to a later time.
Innumerable hours of time are lost due to these interruptions.
and it can take months before a final decision is made.
How to you counter these interruptions when the interrupters are senior to you and you can feel intimidated to interrupt them, back – to continue your presentation?
Here’s one process to follow:
1.In the planning of your presentation be crystal clear on the key message(s) of the presentation. That is, what you want the LT or Board to retain and/or act upon. Good to questions to ask yourself include: (‘Why am I delivering this presentation to the LT/Board?’ What do they need to hear? What don’t they need to hear?)
2. Format those messages in a few bullet points or in two sentences and plan to spotlight them at the start of your presentation. Limit the opening of your presentation to less than three minutes.
3. As you enter the room, think of S.O.D.A. This is Stop. Observe. Decide. Act. That is, STOP once your enter the room for a moment or two. OBSERVE the room and the people in it. DECIDE where you will sit. ACT: Move to the seat.
4. Sit feeling the back of the chair, with a tall posture and arms uncrossed on the table – then pause for a moment and with conviction, say:
‘Thanks for your time. I ask you to hold your questions and comments for three minutes while I deliver and flesh-out the key messages of this presentation.’
If you’ve done all of the above steps, in most cases, you’ll not be interrupted in the first three minutes.
Own the Conversation
In the next seven days trial the above process in a ‘safe’ interaction. Reflect on the results of using it. Continue to adapt and refine the process, and when you have it polished, use it in Leadership Team and Board presentations.
p.s. In relation to LT and Board presentations, as important as getting ‘clear air’ for your initial three minutes of speaking, it’s important that you have techniques to handle tough and challenging questions about your presentation. Check out my popular Listen and speak under pressure programmes because they will help you succeed at Q&A.