Be Brief, Be Bright, Be Gone

Monday January 23, 2012

Those of you who have given presentations to and/or “briefed” CEOs and high level corporate leaders know that the more “brief” you are, the better.  One of my clients is a CEO of a mid-size company and the leaders in his company regularly brief him on various topics. One of his frustrations is that they are anything but “brief”.  He is amazed at the details and minutia included with the presentations he receives.  We’ve concluded that most of those leaders are not experienced in what it takes to effectively present to a CEO (or someone of that level).

He came up with the “be brief, be bright, be gone” concept which I wanted to share because it speaks to exactly what is needed when presenting to those in the Executive ranks.  Most of these leaders are very busy and very smart meaning they don’t have a lot of time and are very quick to assimilate and comprehend complex information.  They want presentations to be brief, they want the people presenting to be bright, and then they want them gone so they can move onto the next thing.  That is not to say that they won’t ask questions; they most certainly will.  So, it is critical that the presenter has enough information in his or her own head to be able to answer whatever questions arise.  The key is to not share or formally present all those details unless they are requested.

As individuals grow and advance into higher-level leadership ranks, they need to learn the critical skill of executive presentation skills.  I think the “be brief, be bright, be gone” concept is a great one to remember.  The more concise and articulate you can be, the more those in the executive ranks will perceive you as an astute and communicative leader.  This is where you can make a lasting impression.  Those executives will actually look forward to seeing your name as the presenter because they know you get it: you know the information they are looking for and how to present it to them.  The sooner you get it, the easier it becomes for you to demonstrate that you’re ready to advance your own career to those higher leadership levels.

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