addressing board of directors

How to present to the board

One common public speaking scenario that clients come to us for help with is presenting to the board of directors. It seems to fill people with fear with countless nights lost sleep prior to the event. Perhaps this is because the board are likely to be more senior (or at least more powerful) than the speaker so it’s perceived to be a high-pressure presentation.

We tend to see the same mistakes being made when presenting to the board, and here they are (so you can ensure you don’t make them).


Mistakes to avoid when presenting to directors

  1. Being too nervous/not being natural in front of the board. The first thing we do with our clients is to tame those Public Speaking Monkeys – the negative internal voices that put doubts in our mind about our presenting abilities. Many of our clients have a ‘you’re not good enough’ monkey when they think about presenting to the board. It’s good to remember that the board are there to listen to the information you present – not to compare themselves to you, but with a negative “monkey” always chattering away that might be all you can think of. My approach uses proven NLP techniques to work on mind-set first, and skill set afterwards. Once the monkeys are tamed and presenter is fear-free, they are able to learn advanced presentation skills techniques quickly and take constructive feedback easily and effectively.
  2. Too much detail.* The board want strategy, the big picture. If you focus on too much detail, you’ll end up talking for too long and losing their interest or worse still encouraging them to get into the nitty gritty! Keep it brief. Of course you need to have done your detailed research but you don’t need to present it unless they ask. Remember you can always offer or they can ask for more information if it is required.
  3. Failure to consider inter-relationships. People tend to forget to consider things outside their line of direct responsibility, but the board will be keen to see relationships with other areas and products.
  4. Haven’t studied ‘competition.’ When it comes to asking for money or resources from the board, you need to know who else is asking, and what exactly are they asking for? For example if there are limited funds for investment then who/what is your project competing with for that money and why is yours a better decision?
  5. Didn’t anticipate questions from the board. Make sure you step into the shoes of each and every member of the board and anticipate the questions they will ask. You can even use a hidden slide in PowerPoint and say “I thought you might ask me that.” They may even be impressed with your preparation and strategic thinking.


In our blog next month, we’ll continue this theme with how to prepare for presenting to the board in which we’ll share lots of useful tips and tricks.


Simply Amazing Training offers professional  presentation skills courses and public speaking coaching  for directors, management training, marketing and sales teams of corporate companies near London, Bournemouth and St Albans. Call me today on 0330 223 4392  for an informal chat to discuss your bespoke presentation skills training requirements.

Dee Clayton

Posted by Dee Clayton on 20 Jun 2017

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