Presenting Data to Executives: Strategies for Success

Episode 36: Presenting Data to Executives: Strategies for Success

In this episode, we explore strategies for effectively presenting data to executives. Understanding your audience, aligning your communication with their goals, and delivering concise and compelling presentations are key. By tailoring your approach, using visuals strategically, and anticipating questions, you can make a meaningful impact on decision-making and influence your organization’s direction.

You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

What You’ll Learn in this Episode

  • Understanding the motivations and priorities of executives
  • Tailoring your communication to align with their goals
  • Defining clear objectives and keeping presentations concise
  • Crafting a compelling narrative and using visuals strategically
  • Emphasizing recommendations and next steps
  • Anticipating potential questions and objections
  • Influencing decision-making and making a meaningful impact

Get in Touch with Hana

Let me know what you think of the episode, you can message at or on Instagram @hanalytx.

If you are looking for podcast updates and want additional tips on how to visualize and present data sent straight to your inbox, then make sure to subscribe to my weekly data letters here.

When you hit that subscribe button, I’ll be sliding into your inbox every Wednesday with an email.

Love the show? Why not leave a review?

If you loved this episode of the Art of Communicating Data Podcast, why not leave a review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify?

It only takes 2 minutes and provides me with invaluable insight as to what the listeners think.

If you enjoyed this episode, check out this episode where best-selling author Cole Knaflic shares her tips for becoming an empowered presenter.

Episode Transcript

Generated automatically – there may be some errors.

[00:00:00] Hana: In this episode, I will share strategies for presenting data to executives. So I know not everyone is fortunate or unfortunate to present to executives, but for those of you who do have to present to people at the highest level of your organization, I understand that it can be daunting and the strategies for presenting to them are gonna be a little bit different then your other audience members.

[00:00:23] So first thing is: it’s important for you to understand who your audience is and tailor your communication to their needs. This is also relevant to when you’re presenting to other types of audience members. So here are some practical recommendations.

[00:00:36] One is to understand what motivates them. What do these executives care about? What are their goals and priorities and what metrics are relevant to that? So I know that you will likely not have the chance to interview them before your presentation to get to know them better, to understand all these things better.

[00:00:54] But sometimes you can learn these things through other ways. For instance, the communication that they sent out.

[00:01:00] Oftentimes they do company-wide meetings where they share their objectives, their goals they do quarterly reviews. And from that you can understand what are their current priorities, what are they trying to focus on this quarter?

[00:01:12] That is usually sufficient for you to prepare your presentation. Now, if you don’t have access to these materials you can also reach out to other people who may have access or know about these executives.

[00:01:22] This could be your manager, it could be your skip manager, which is, you know, your manager’s manager, your director. If you don’t have access to these people, you may have to get creative. But usually you can start off by talking to your manager, letting them know that this is what you’re doing.

[00:01:35] You don’t have to be sneaky about it. You can actually tell them like, I’m preparing this presentation, and it’ll help me if I understand what are their motivations, what are their goals, what do they care about so I can make it relevant for them.

[00:01:47] And actually your manager will appreciate you for asking these questions cuz it’ll show that you’re very thoughtful and deliberate with your presentations.

[00:01:54] Then you also wanna know your objectives, so you want to clearly define the purpose of your presentation and align it with the executives goals and priorities that you learned about. You also wanna keep it concise.

[00:02:07] Executives are very busy people and they have limited time, so you wanna avoid overwhelming them with excessive data or complex visuals or just too much information in general. So you wanna focus on the most relevant insights and make sure that you think about how you can be as concise as possible.

[00:02:26] You also wanna consider telling a compelling story so you can structure your presentation with a clear narrative that will highlight all these key findings and recommendations that you want to give to these executives. You also wanna use visuals strategically.

[00:02:40] Choose your data visits that are easy to understand and support your main points. You definitely don’t want to show some complex visuals they may not have the graphical literacy to interpret.

[00:02:52] Then you wanna emphasize the recommendations or the next steps. Let them know exactly what you need them to do and possibly by when you may wanna consider explaining what would happen or not happen if the actions are not taken, if you think that will help motivate them to take action as soon as possible.

[00:03:12] I know it sounds weird telling executives what to do, but many of them will appreciate that because it will require extra effort on their part to try to read in between the lines to understand what it is that they need to do next.

[00:03:26] So if you spell it out for them, you’re saving them a lot of effort and time in trying to figure this out themselves. Finally, you wanna anticipate the questions that they may have. You wanna prepare for potential questions and possible objections from executives and try to have evidence-based responses ready.

[00:03:42] Remember, the goal of presenting data to executives is to help and influence decision making. So by following these strategies, you can confidently communicate your data insights and make a meaningful impact on your organization if you do want more help with preparing for your presentations, I do have a course called Present Data with Confidence.

[00:04:02] You can find that on my website Trending Analytics that’s trending hyphen, or you can email me and I can send you information about that course. some action items for you.

[00:04:13] Apply the strategies we just discussed in this episode in your next presentation. You wanna practice delivering your presentation to a colleague or a mentor or your manager and get feedback, because presentations to executives are usually high stakes. I really recommend that you do this, and you wanna look for opportunities to observe or learn from experienced people who have successfully communicated data to executives. That’s all for today and good luck.