The first time I went before the board, I thought I was going to pass out. As the seconds ticked down before my allotted time, I sat in my hotel room staring in the mirror telling myself over and over that I knew my stuff and was ready. Once in the meeting, the time flew by, and luckily, I escaped unscathed.
These days I do presentations to boards all the time – usually presenting findings from compliance program reviews or risk assessments that we’ve done at Spark Compliance. I’ve also spent many hours preparing our clients to make presentations themselves. Over the years I’ve seen good presentations, great presentations, and disastrous presentations. How can you ensure you’re going to do a great job? Here are five top tips for rocking your presentation to your board.
No. 1: Plan Not to Have Time, and Work Backwards
A CCO I know is utterly fed up with being placed last on the agenda at every board meeting. Typically, she’s scheduled for half an hour, and as the day passes and presentation after presentation runs over, she frequently only has five minutes to present – and it’s always the last five minutes before drinks! To manage this, she’s learned a great technique that I call “countdown.”
When looking at the agenda for what she wants to present to the board, she mentally orders it in importance. If she has four topics – say (a) presentation of quarterly metrics, (b) discussion of a critical investigation’s outcome, (c) update on the training plan, and (d) presentation of next year’s budget requests – she’ll decide her order is (b), (d), (a), (c). She’ll then decide if she has:
5 minutes = (b) only
10 minutes = (b) and (d)
20 minutes = (b), (d) and (a)
30 minutes = (b), (d), (a) and (c)
This allows her to use her time most effectively, even if she has to shorten her presentation. To compensate for this…
No. 2: Rely on the Pre-Read
Do some board members skip the pre-reads or ignore the materials presented to them entirely?…