3 Tips for Nailing Your Board Presentation (Part 2)

Board meeting presentations are golden opportunities for executives to demonstrate their credentials as business leaders. Learn The Public Speaker’s 3 more tips for making an effective presentation to a board of directors.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #179

Tip #6: Be Prepared

And speaking of preparation, it is also very important to prepare how you will bring the topic of conversation back on track if it becomes derailed.  One way to do that is to use a technique called "the bridge," which is a phrase that helps you segue to a subject you want to talk about.

One of my favorites is "What's crucial to remember is..." So, let’s say you get asked your opinion on a sticky issue, you can respond by briefly giving your opinion, but then direct the discussion away from the sticky situation using the bridge and go on to discuss what you want to talk about. 

I can't over emphasize the importance of collecting and researching the types of questions that you might get ahead of time. I suggest preparing slides that address the most difficult questions (even if you never use them). The process will force you to think through your responses more carefully and prepare you for a better “off-the-cuff” response, should the question come up.

When it comes to the length of your formal presentation, never, ever believe the amount of time that you'll be given. Assume that even if you're told you have 40 minutes to present, that a majority of your 40 minutes will be spent answering questions. Recognize that your formal board presentation will likely be extremely short, so plan and prepare for that. Ahead of time, plot the information you’re delivering into “must know,” “should know,” and “nice to know” categories, so that you can prioritize in case your time gets cut short.

Also, find out what will be communicated to the board on this particular topic on the day of your presentation by other presenters, as well as what has been presented in the recent past and also in the years gone by. If possible, you’ll also want to know the reactions of the board to those past presentations. You don’t want to repeat information that has already been presented earlier in the day on the same agenda, but more importantly, by understanding a previous reaction you can better prepare for how to approach the topic.

Ultimately, an excellent board meeting presentation comes down to preparing as much as possible so that you can appear to be spontaneously clear, concise, and compelling. 

This is Lisa B. Marshall, The Public Speaker. Passionate about communication; your success is my business.


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About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.