You don’t present to execs, you sell to execs. Something a mentor told me once.

There are different presentations:

  • Presenting to the CEO + C suite.
  • Presenting to other execs.
  • Presenting to your manager.
  • Presenting to other stakeholders.

Your presentation has to be tailored to the right audience.

You can mistakenly combine all presentations made to different people up the hierarchy into a single bucket called ‘presenting up’. But that does not work.

Once I was planning an update to the CEO on a 0 to 1 initiative that my team is running.

I worked with my PM on the following structure:

  • Where are we now (timeline of major events/launches and numbers at the highest level of abstraction so that the exec doesn’t get bogged down by details)
  • Where do we want to be (3 year vision or why should someone put money/resources on this)
  • How will we reach there

I thought it was a great presentation and the content was good, not too high level, not too low, marries the 80000 feet view with execution details, but my mentor asked me to think from the CEO’s POV. Details are good. But that is not the point of the presentation.

The point of the presentation is to answer the following question:

  • Why should the CEO put X million on this new initiative vs using the same resources somewhere else.
  • How does this new initiative tie to the mission of the company/something the CEO cares about.

You are not presenting, you are selling.

You are selling all the time as a product leader. Every job is a Sales job, including product, but we keep forgetting it.