Captivate the C-Suite: A Presentation Blueprint for Influencing Senior Leaders

Do you feel overlooked or dismissed at board meetings?

You may be a team lead or a head of department but when you test your presentation skills on the Senior Leadership Team your imposter syndrome is shouting, “You don’t belong!” 

It’s like auditioning for a role you already have. 

From your perspective, if they do listen to you, it’s out of politeness. 

However, Shana in the APEC team. She’s a different kettle of fish. 

Her massive personality and sparkling charisma seem to pull focus in meetings. 

You don’t want to copy her, though. You still want to be you. 

So, how do you turn their polite nods into genuine interest? How do you transform their “must we endure this?” faces into “tell us more”? 

Your Blueprint for Effective Business Storytelling 

Meet Chen (not her real name, but her struggle is). As a department lead, her presentations were her ticket to recognition and resources. But her influence seemed to be floating in the digital abyss. 

Presenting is immensely important in a hybrid world or in dispersed teams and if those water cooler chats are a distant memory, your virtual presence needs to pack a punch. 

Chen’s presentations were more of a soft punch so she’d have to chase people up for follow up meetings that rarely happened. 

Her presentations needed to demonstrate her influence skills and it was this golden structure that kept the influencers hooked: 

Part One- The Opening Act (approx. 1- 2 mins): 

  • Grab Attention: Start with a bang—a fact, a stat, or a concern that echoes theirs. 
  • Headline It: “Here’s the scoop on Customer Success since January.” 
  • Roadmap Reveal: Break it down into three acts:  
    1. Customer retention overview 
    2. Cross-departmental collaborations for the greater good 
    3. Hurdles and high jumps—what’s blocking us? 

Part Two – The Meaty Middle (20 minutes): 

  • Data Dance: Show them the numbers that matter in relation to their business strategy. 

Why you need this: big picture shows progress and problems in relation to the strategic interests of senior management. The data should incite curiosity and a basis for your plans. 

  • Collaboration Chronicles: Weave a tale of teamwork.  In Chen’s case, with Tech Support and Product Development. 

Why you need this: you’re a Head of Department or wish to be seen as a potential leader. Cooperating across, not only within departments is seen as an essential part of leadership. It shows you’re proactive and can join the dots. 

  • Future Forecast: Present challenges in achieving those overarching strategic goals and your shiny solutions. 

Why you need this: bringing your departmental update back round to their strategic priorities shows alignment with their priorities. 

Part Three – Conclusion (approx. 1–2 minutes) 

The Grand Finale: 

  • Echo the Roadmap: Remind them of the journey they’ve just been on by rephrasing the roadmap in the opening. 
  • Achievement Applause: Highlight the wins in relation to the grand business strategy. 
  • The Ask: What do you need from them? Here’s how to say it. 

How such a plan elevates your influence skills: 

  1. Relevance is King: Stick to what matters to them. In this case, it’s how a department head is meeting strategic goals. 
  2. Alignment is Queen: Show that your goals are doing a tango with theirs. 
  3. Engagement is the Royal Court: Using a mix of stories and stats you’re engaging different parts of their minds and varied personalities 

Chen’s Triumph 

For the first time since Chen had been in her role, the senior management didn’t just ask her questions – they unleashed a Q&A marathon. All of them being about what she plans to do and the resources she requires from them. 

Her ask led to the following request: 

“Come back to us with how you’ll implement the plan and the resources you require next week.” 

They were asking her for her proposal. 

Chen’s presentation didn’t just speak; it resonated. No more digital hide-and-seek for a sliver of their time. With one presentation, Chen raised her authority and not by playing power games. 

Your Action 

What can you do to improve your presentation skills in the workplace? First decide which presentation structure might be best for you. 

Here are some for different purposes: 

  1. The Happy Valley structure: use this when the desired pay-off is stronger than the perceived challenge: the audience don’t feel the pain, but you know it can be much better.
  2. The Update structure: ideal when you have 10 minutes to account to your team or other colleagues. 
  3. The PROEP:  when senior management have time only for your five minute proposal and it’s too rushed for slides.

My presentation coaching and training has helped specialists in tech to deliver engaging presentations and pitches, winning them new jobs, more business, millions of pounds in funding and the ability to raise their influence skills. Check out my range of presentation and public speaking courses to see what I can do for you and your teams. 


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