Making the case to decision makers: the presentation format to follow

Date Added
Apr 6, 2021 12:12 AM

I wrote before about the five questions you should be asking yourself before putting together a presentation. These questions should offer guidance on what you need to think about as you prepare your content, but they don’t offer a simple format to articulate that content well.

Over the last few years, I’ve spent a good amount of time presenting to our executive leadership team. A couple of years ago, one of these presentations was directly to our CEO. As I prepared for it, I spent dozens of hours, 50 different presentation styles and outlines, and many different pre-meetings to test out my template until I came around to this one. Since then, I’ve been using this as my guiding format to build the case for decisions makers. It’s also the format that runs in my head as I get a presentation where I need to make a call.

A critical step to think about throughout the format below is who’s your audience? Not all presentations meet the same requirements and not all audiences are the same. Think of who you’re presenting to and why they’re actually there before you approach any of the steps below.

Here is an overview:

  1. Start with the conclusion.
  2. What’s the problem you’re solving and why does it matter?
  3. What are we currently doing about this problem?
  4. What are our competitors or industry leaders doing?
  5. What’s your solution?
  6. What’s the cost of doing it?
  7. What’s the cost of inaction?
  8. What’s a high level execution plan?
  9. What’s your call to action? This is generally a repeat of #1.