How presentations differ in the organization heirarchy?

Over the recent past, I have been part of the audience when employees at different levels in the organization hierarchy made presentations (Different situations and different audiences and different intent) – Starting from employees at the entry level to very senior business leaders.

My observations:

• In terms of length / number of slides, senior business leaders had very short presentations (typically less than 10 slides) – irrespective of the topic; while entry level and less experienced employees had very long presentations (more than 25 slides) – again irrespective of the topic

• Content on each slide for senior business leaders was very limited. Of course, they were able to speak on 1 slide on which they had 1 sentence for 10 minutes – This is a function of clarity in thought, presence of mind, knowledge and a wealth of experience on a subject. On the other and, entry level and less experienced employees found it tough to speak even for 1 minute on a slide which had at least 10 detailed points

• Senior business leaders made an effort to know the audience profile before they began the presentation; while entry level and less experienced employees made no specific / explicit efforts to gather audience profile

• Senior business leaders made significant eye contact with their audience and modified the presentation flow based on the pulse of the audience; entry level and less experienced employees made significant contact with the presentation (and minimized / avoided contact with the audience) and followed the flow as outlined in their presentation. Audience engagement, queries and connect seemed to be of lower priority in comparison to completing the presentation by walking through all the slides

• Senior business leaders had at least 15% of the overall time scheduled for audience questions, inputs and feedback; entry level and less experienced employees mostly did not want to have any specific time for questions

• Senior business leaders typically focused on ensuring that the audience left with at least 2-3 key messages / take-a-ways; entry level and less experienced employees did not have too much focus on audience take-a-ways. Again focus was on completing the presentation

NOTE: All above have been based on my experiences only.

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3 comments on “How presentations differ in the organization heirarchy?

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