13 December 2018
How to Present IT Strategy to C-Level
For IT managers, presenting to a C-level audience is unlike any other situation, and it is important to understand how to handle it to get a strategy across the line. Senior executives don’t have a lot of time and make a lot of high-stake decisions, making a meeting with them a precious commodity. You have a lot to say and IT is crucial to the smooth running of any business, but it is imperative you get right to the pain point and push why this strategy should be important to them while you have their attention.
Keep the below in mind when prepping to present an IT strategy to C-Level staff:
Know the people
The first step is to define the people who will be at the meeting. Who are they and what are their roles? What are their agendas and how can you align your IT strategy with this? Remember that C Level leaders are usually bright, competitive and analytical. They are time poor and have lots to do, so understand them before you talk to them.
Link to C-level and business issues
The next step is linking your IT strategy with the attendees. Most people want to know what’s in it for them so clearly show your message in relevance to their issues. Relate to strategy, profitability, revenue, ROI and brand. Don’t focus on features, functions or price. Keep it high level and only get technical if specifically asked for.
30 second rule
When it comes time to chat, make it short. You have 30 seconds to get their attention and tell them what you are there for and what you want. Keep slides and details to a minimum. Get straight to the point and start with the conclusion. If you are looking for financing, include ROI calculations so the attendees know what they are getting for the investment.
Confidence is key
Getting an IT strategy over the line is all about confidence. You need to be confident in the solution and presentation. Practice before the meeting and ensure you know all the facts. Use presentation skills like energy, eye contact and body language to convey your point.
Be ready for common challenges
No matter how much you practice, there is always the chance you may have to change something on the fly but you can still be prepared for this. Consider any tough questions that may arise and have a rough idea of how to answer. Have a shorter version of the presentation ready, but also a longer version with more details if required. If people start looking at phones and emails, reconfirm that the topic is important and get to the point. Finally, before the meeting finishes, ask the guests what the next steps would be to get your plan in action.