Being a CEO means wearing many hats ― particularly when communicating your venture’s vision and future plans. While your core ideas and values will remain consistent, you must be prepared to communicate with various audiences, including investors, customers, employees and peers. Tailoring your messages to your audiences’ diverse interests and needs is crucial.
We’ll highlight five presentations every CEO should craft, practice and have ready to go when the moment calls. While your industry and the unique aspects of your organization will inform your presentations, all leaders can benefit from having these pitches and presentations at the ready.
While industry trends and unique situations will dictate a CEO’s specific presentation needs, all leaders need the following five presentations. Be sure to practice and hone your presentations so they’re polished and professional ― you don’t want your business to go viral for the wrong reasons.
Presenting your idea to investors is a delicate balance of sales, partnership, enthusiasm and vision. It’s essential to get straight to the point and convince investors to put their money and trust in your hands. If a CEO can’t make people care about their business in less than five minutes, they must return to the drawing board.
Angel investors and venture capitalists look for signs that a company is worth their time and money. Revenue numbers, customer data, a solid marketing plan and positive business trends are critical. However, don’t rely on the numbers to do all the talking: Investors want entrepreneurs they can trust.
Your investor pitch should weave together data with an engaging story that establishes that you’re an excellent, trustworthy leader with a capable team.
Finding and attracting investors ― and keeping their attention ― can be challenging. According to DocSend, in 2021, investors spent about three and a half minutes reviewing pitch decks. In 2022, it was less than three minutes.
Once you have a group of investors and advisors, you must keep them updated on the pulse of your business. While the investor pitch highlights your company’s potential, board meeting presentations should offer a more diverse view of what’s happening in the business. From successes and failures to plans for the future, a CEO should provide stakeholders with information to give guidance where needed.
Giving positive updates is easy, since no CEO wants to look bad in front of the board. Thus, you may be tempted to avoid presenting dismal quarterly results. However, showing that you can learn from your failures is crucial.
If you must present a less-than-optimal board meeting update, be honest about what went wrong and focus on what you and your company learned from your missteps. By showing the board you understand what went wrong and can avoid it in the future, you’ll build trust. In contrast, brushing failures under the rug will undermine trust.
Communicating with your team is crucial; employees want to hear from the C-suite and understand the organizations they work for. However, corporate communication is sorely lacking. According to Gallup, only 7 percent of employees feel they get accurate, timely and transparent information from their workplace.
CEOs must become cheerleaders, inspiring and motivating their employees to work toward a collective goal. Company-wide presentations should give employees a “big picture” view of the business and an eye toward the future.
This kind of presentation is often called a “vision pitch.” It conveys much more than your bottom line ― it shares your business’s potential impact on the world and inspires your team.
Look to your company’s mission statement to inspire your all-hands vision pitch. Avoid abstract platitudes like “We make the world better.” Instead, share stories about how your business lives its mission and impacts the world.
Apple has perfected the show-stopping press event. When many people think of Steve Jobs, they often recall his dynamic and unique presentations at Apple’s major product launch events.
Jobs elicited emotional responses from his audiences. For example, when announcing the iPod in 2001, he didn’t describe it as just a beautiful MP3 player. He equated it with the freedom to listen to any kind of music, anywhere.
Investor pitches and all-hands vision pitches must help an audience see beyond basic facts and figures to something more meaningful. Similarly, press-worthy announcements should drive at something much deeper than technical specs. If you want people to care about what you’re announcing, help them understand the implications of your news in emotional terms.
Industry events are opportunities for CEOs to increase brand awareness and reach a broad audience of potential customers. But when a CEO is asked to give a keynote at an event, organizers don’t want a company pitch.
Instead, CEOs should cultivate a platform of ideas beyond their products or services to call upon for keynote presentations. They can use these thought leadership tenets to prepare a presentation that is meaningful to the audience while effortlessly raising their organization’s esteem and profile.
While PowerPoint presentations are ubiquitous, this software isn’t the only game in town. Consider the following free and low-cost presentation tools that can take your pitches to the next level.
Canva is an excellent presentation tool for artistically challenged CEOs. Users can drag and drop elements and search for high-quality, professional graphics and templates. Canva is similar to higher-end design software but without the expense and learning curve.
Here are some basic facts about Canva:
Pitch is an excellent presentation platform that can help you secure new partners and increase capital. The software allows you to “Go live” by clicking a camera icon (top-right) to start a live video call. Team members can collaborate in real time, and you can assign individual slides to invited team members.
If you work with other companies, you can invite them to collaborate. The paid plan also gives you access to shared private folders and version histories.
Here’s what you need to know about Pitch:
Google Slides is an excellent, free alternative to PowerPoint that works on all devices. Collaborating with Google Slides is easy because it’s a cloud computing application.
Here’s what you need to know about Google Slides:
Visme is an all-in-one presentation-creation platform with easy customization features. Visme is more robust than PowerPoint but just as easy to use. It’s great for teams that want a professional look. You can use its free version with limited features or upgrade to its paid tiers for more functionality.
Here’s some information on Visme:
Prezi’s presentation software allows you to create nonlinear stories. It can manage slides in groups so you can quickly bounce from one topic to the next while keeping your audience engaged. Prezi also allows you to share presentation links to collaborate with co-workers.
Here’s what you should know about Prezi:
The Beautiful.ai software uses artificial intelligence to upgrade the standard human presentation. The platform is excellent if you are short on time. Import all your information and Beautiful.ai will organize your slides to be clear, concise and aesthetically appealing.
Here’s some basic info on Beautiful.ai:
Peter Arvai contributed to this article.