In this guide, Sarah Chambers provides 10 key points to help steel your nerves, get you better prepared and generally ensure a more successful presentation.
Being asked to present your marketing strategy to the Board - or perhaps your Executive management team - can seem daunting. Yearly sales projections, audience development plans, re-branding strategies or marketing planning headlines can all be information that is expected - sometimes in 'one agenda item' - in a board meeting situation. Or conversely, the other extreme is you may be asked to prepare a paper or presentation covering all of your plans for every single one of these areas to a board who you know may not be engaged with half of the topics.
Whatever the request and however daunting it may feel, you should firstly recognise that it's a great opportunity. It's an opportunity to showcase the work you and your team do, and really open up a dialogue about the overall strategy and direction of the business. It's your chance to ensure your planning is running in sync with what the company are trying to achieve, and for you to raise the profile of your team's contribution to the overall aims of the organisation - ensuring your work (and budgets) get support.
However, with all of that positivity aside... it can still feel like a mammoth and scary task - and especially daunting if you are doing it for the first time. Here are a few pointers that can help steel your nerves, get you better prepared and generally ensure a more successful session.
1. Know why you are there
One of the key things to establish from the outset is who invited you. It may be that your CEO or Artistic Director requested a one-off marketing overview, or perhaps a particular board member wanted to get an 'in-person' update on a particular area of the marketing strategy. Or maybe it's a 'regular slot' every quarter that you are taking over for the first time. Whichever scenario, you need to understand the nuances of what you are expected to talk about and what your contribution should look like.
If it's a one-off ask on a specific topic, it's important to read through the notes of the previous meeting and find out in what context the ask was made - and by whom. This background information may show you that there was a very clear agenda or context needed from your presentation (for example it might form the basis of a future board decision - or reflect an important milestone of the company). Knowing that context will be crucial, so you sift and filter the information you deliver.
If you are picking up a regular slot from someone else - although more straightforward on paper - this can be more tricky in practise. Invest time in finding out how things have been presented before but don't let that deter you from introducing something new in terms of information dissemination or delivery. Just ensure that before you change things fundamentally that you get the support of your CEO beforehand so that a 'new way' is not a surprise to all.
Download the guide to read more:
Presenting your marketing strategy to the Board (PDF)