Review meetings are never easy. Managers put night outs and prepare extensively before presenting to superiors. Doing a good job in the field and being able to present it are two different skills.
How should a manager prepare for these review meetings? What is his superior looking for? Come let’s hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Q1. What did you, as a superior, expect from these review presentations?
Being a business review, my first expectation is with regards to data. I expect data integrity, data accuracy & data familiarity. By data familiarity I mean, you should be thorough with your data. You have crunched it before coming to me.
Secondly, I expect the manager to draw some conclusions from the data presented. He is not a transmitter of data but a processor of data.
Thirdly, I expect SMART action plans. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reviewable, Time-bound action plans. If your action plans are not SMART, they are of no use to management. If your action plan is to have 5 customer meets, I would like to know when they will happen, how will they impact sales, by how much, and so on.
A review meeting is not a retrospection exercise.
Q2. What are the common mistakes managers make in review presentations?
The 4 most common mistakes managers make are:
i) They are not organized. They treat review presentations like fast food. Cooking it up at the very last moment and serving it.
ii) They come with insufficient or inaccurate data.
iii) They lack confidence when they talk. This again stems from their lack of effort and preparation.
iv) They do not accept that they don’t know the answer. It is good to accept what you don’t know.
Q3. What are your views on using pictures, fonts, color and animation in formal presentations?
As an audience I do not care what fonts and background color scheme has been used. You should take care that your presentation is clearly visible to the last man at the back. Animation is welcome if it breaks the monotony.
If used properly an image is worth a thousand words. Managers should use relevant images to convey thoughts. No one likes to sit through an hour long presentation staring at bar graphs and data tables. However, there is a word of caution. Do not go overboard in using animation or images. Remember, these are like background music in a movie. They cannot come to the fore and overshadow the dialogues.
Q4. What is the one thing that a manager should value most?
Time. In any business presentation, time is of most importance. Start on time, finish on time and leave enough time at the end for question and answer.
Q5. What would be your advice to young managers?
I would like to leave them with 4 thoughts:
i) Be thorough with your content.
ii) Be clear with what you want to achieve from the presentation and work hard towards it.
iii) Seek help from stakeholders to improve your presentation. You can always approach a senior colleague for advice.
iv) Provide a copy of the presentation to your superior in advance and seek feedback.
Assume a manager Manoj is presenting to the country head after one week. What stops Manoj from mailing the presentation across to the country head today and ask, “Sir here is my presentation for the business review. Please advise me on how I can better this before the meeting.”
How many of you have ever tried doing this? Knowing what the audience wants, wouldn't that help you deliver a successful presentation?
To summarize what Mr. VK Chandrasekaran says:
1. Be thorough with data.
2. Do not come with a problem, come with a solution
3. Prepare well. Presentation is not fast food.
4. Present with confidence. Remember confidence comes with preparation.
5. Presentation design (fonts and colors) should ensure your slides are clearly visible to the audience.
Use these tips from in your next business review and you will surely do a much better job of being able to present what you have done.
How did you find these tips? Which of these tips appealed the most? Share what concerns you most while making business review presentations.