4 Tips for Acing Your Next High Stakes Presentation

High stakes business events such as shareholder meetings, BoD presentations or global town halls can have serious consequences. Share price, board appointments, the future of your organization and your role in it can all be impacted by your presentation and performance.

In a high-pressure situation such as this, you need to plan, prepare, and practice to deliver a flawless business PowerPoint presentation. Here’s how:

1. Precision Planning

Detailed planning is crucial for high stakes meetings, so start well in advance of your presentation date. Begin by creating and distributing a calendar of key milestones, which allows time for everything from pre-event publicity to FINRA reviews. It is critical that this sets realistic deadlines for everyone, especially if multiple people/departments are contributing content. Include key dates for slide deck submissions such as initial outlines and a pre-final version of all slide decks.

Make sure you keep everyone involved informed along the way. It can be helpful to create a system that enables participants to see the updated calendar, easily access the presentation template, and review each other’s work-in-progress slide decks. Send reminders before each deadline, so there are fewer last-minute emergencies.

2. Business PowerPoint Presentation Preparation

Great business PowerPoint presentations start with good preparation. Providing a well-built, professionally optimized template at the start – with correctly constructed masters and good example slides to follow – will save you from days of delay and frustration at the end. Without a good template, trying to combine different files into a single presentation can become a costly last-minute emergency.

Make sure contributors know what content they’re responsible for, how long they have to present, and any tech-specs they need to follow. For example, if their presentations contain charts, make sure they provide the editable data rather than just screengrabs or images. Also make everyone aware of the platform that will be used (Zoom, WebEx, etc.) as they all have slightly different restrictions on things like showing video or slide animations.

To create a cohesive experience for your attendees, you may want to consider developing special branding for your event. This could include a theme logo, unique PowerPoint template, signage and other ancillary assets.

3. Practice Makes Perfect

High stakes meetings are stressful even for the most seasoned presenters. The best way to feel comfortable presenting is to rehearse. Doing multiple practice sessions, or even a full dress rehearsal will give you the confidence to make your best impression at the actual event – even if something goes wrong. Recording yourself on video while rehearsing is an excellent way to do some hard analysis of your performance, and seeking feedback from peers or experienced presenters can be a big help.

Steve Jobs was famous for choreographing every detail of his shareholder presentations, and those presentations often resulted in higher stock prices, and greater market share for Apple. A former product manager remembers preparing for one of Steve’s presentations: “The team and I spent hours preparing for a segment that lasted about five minutes.”

You should prepare yourself to be flexible and able to pivot quickly if necessary, especially these days where social-distancing requirements have caused many events to move online. For example, be ready to hide any non-vital slides (but don’t delete them) so that you can deliver a shorter presentation if you’re pressed for time – and tell your audience that additional details can be found in handouts or a post-meeting email.

4. Enlist Professional Expertise

Whether it’s slide development or speaking advice, enlist help from professionals to make sure your high stakes presentations are the best they can be. eSlide can help with your next important business PowerPoint presentation, including custom templates, professional PowerPoint design, and production. We’ve been working with top executives from Fortune 500 companies around the globe for more than 20 years. Get in touch today to speak with our professional presentation design team, so your high stakes business event can be low-stress and get the results you need.

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