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Internal presentations are vital to your career

15 Nov, 2019 Speeches and presentations

This article was originally published in 2015 and has been completely updated in 2020.

More presentations are conducted internally than externally, such as in meetings on decisions, projects, reviews, and sales. In fact, internal presentations are often the most important and influential presentations you will ever make. The stakes are often much higher – these presentations can have a bigger direct impact on financial performance, share price and operational results of a business or business unit. And they will affect your career progression.

Two levels of internal presentations

To middle managers

You know what works in team meetings at your peer level: stories, PowerPoint slides, one-way communication with minimal Q&A, and no interruptions.

To top leaders

For effective presentations to top executives, know the people and the big picture, go very early to bottom line impact, deliver with confidence, and be prepared to answer questions. You must gain approval from the people at the top to get things done. Resources are limited, and managers from other departments, eg finance, IT, and marketing, are competing for the same resources. Refer to my article, “How to make an authoritative presentation to senior executives” for more tips on persuading top management to support your case.

Here’s the formula:

Know the people and big picture

  • Who will be in the meeting?
  • What are their titles?
  • What are their agendas, and how do they feel about each other?
  • Who will support you and who will oppose you?
  • Ideally you will have a sponsor, a senior executive. They can tell you what to expect, and can get the meeting back on track if it derails.

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About the author Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in the eBooks available from cuttingedgepr.com.

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