But how you say it.
Most of my clients are super smart. They work hard. They think strategically and have great ideas.
So why aren’t they exactly where they want to be in their careers?
Simple, it’s one thing to have great ideas. It’s quite another to relay those ideas in a way that most C-suite executives want to receive it.
And since there’s no handbook on how to present to your C-suite boss (or you boss’ C-suite boss), many fall short here.
The good news is that these are skills, once understood and practiced, that are pretty easy to implement.
I File This Under The 3rd Element Of Strategic Leadership: FRAMING
Once you get great at framing, you will see a massive difference in the way people perceive you, I promise.
So let’s get right into it. The easiest way to remember how to frame your ideas well is to use the 3C’s. You want to be:
Clear, Concise And Compelling
Sounds simple enough right?
Often simple doesn’t mean easy. This framework is something I work closely with my clients to master, but I’ll give an overview here.
There’s more to being clear than just pronouncing your words properly. You need to remember that executives see things from a 30,000 foot view while you work in them day to day. That means you often have to present ideas with a different perspective.
Here Are Some Rules Of Thumb I Use When Trying To Be CLEAR:
Use known strategies and frameworks
Start with the punchline
Organize the information
Using known strategies and frameworks is powerful, because it gives you instant credibility and ties the information you’re presenting to something familiar.
For example, if you’re selling a brand new disruptive technology, it probably makes sense to reference the Technology Adoption Lifecycle.
When starting with the punchline, think of the Minto Pyramid, developed by Barbara Minto at McKinsey, which states that you should start with the answer, then give the main supporting facts followed by the details.
I always tell my clients, “DON’T work up to the punchline, start with it!”
This is especially important because if you present your data the other way around, your boss (and their boss) may be left wondering where you are going with your story and this is never, ever a good thing.
Last, organize the information you’re sharing into broader themes, or prioritize your points. And ALWAYS intro the broad topic before you dive into the specifics.
The Second Element Seems Pretty Self Explanatory: BE CONCISE
Skip extraneous details and filler words
Use numbered lists where possible
These don’t require a ton of explanation, but that doesn’t mean this point isn’t important. I can’t tell you how often I review a slide or document and my first piece of feedback is, “Too many words!”
Leave out the details until you’re asked for them and don’t underestimate the power of providing facts or details using numbered lists. It comes across as organized and well thought out.
And Finally, Of Course You Need To Be COMPELLING
Tie back to ROI
Quantify, quantify, quantify
Relate back to company strategy
Often with execs, being compelling is all about quantifying things and tying it back to the ROI (return on investment) for the company. I had a former boss who would not give any idea I brought forward a second look if I did have numbers, even if they were based on assumptions (which I had to clearly lay out).
For example, if you’re asking to spend money, what is the company getting in return? Less staff turnover? More revenue? New customers?
Initially this may be a tough one to start doing, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier and you’re seen as a much more strategic team member.
The last point is similar but a little different: Consider the impact on the company as a whole, the high level strategic goals or the bigger picture. This often allows you to look at things from a different perspective that is much more in line with the executive you’re speaking to.
How To Put This Into Action?
The next time you’re presenting an idea to the exec team, ask yourself if it passes the 3C’s – Clear, Concise and Compelling.
If not, how can you re-organize your data/slides in order to do so?
The more you practice this, the easier it gets.
Before I sign off – my exclusive group coaching program for women who want to get promoted to the next level launches Jan 11th and I am offering early bird pricing until MONDAY, NOV 7th. You can book a call with me using the link below and if you want to take advantage of this pricing hit reply and let me know.
Until next time friends ✌️💜