If you have a big presentation to the board coming up, don't sweat it. Instead, follow these three steps to shine.
Always remember to describe your goal early in your presentation. This helps create a foundation of understanding for your conversation with the board of directors. Focus your updates, funding requests and other topics through the lens of how they will benefit the end user, customer or business, or how they will affect the budget.
Keep your PowerPoint slides minimal and to the point. The board will stay engaged when you connect your message to concepts they can relate to and understand.
Sometimes it may be helpful to do some advance work, reaching out to any board members who aren't tech-savvy before the meeting. Tell them what you'll be discussing and what impact it may have on the business. This gives them time to ask questions in private and alerts you to any concerns about your idea ahead of time.
Then, in your formal presentation, you may choose to involve those same people in your presentation. Your could, for instance, mention them by name and say, "I know you are concerned about X, here's what we've done to address that..." This shows you are confident and pay attention to detail, and it builds goodwill.
Never be so comfortable in how much you know that you forget to engage your audience. More than 90 percent of your impact as a presenter is based on the effectiveness of your voice tone and body language, including eye contact.
Reading slides or notes to the board implies a lack of confidence. If there is something distracting about your communication style, your board will never hear what you're saying. Do a practice run in front of family, friends or (even better) a video camera.
Karlyn Lothery is president of Lothery and Associates, a strategic communications firm.