Have you ever given a roadmap presentation and have it feel more like an interrogation than a presentation? I know many product managers who have felt this pressure, myself included.

Now, most executives will want to see your presentation beforehand, which means you are presenting them with information that they’ve already seen.

Not ideal.

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What happens next can make you feel like you’re being closely inspected as they fire question upon the question at you about your work. This can definitely be nerve-racking.

Don’t take any of this personally though as you need to remember that these executives take personal care of the business and really want to know your views.

You need to convey your ideas to them passionately and concisely.

Today, we are going to be talking about 7 ways in which you can prepare for meetings like these so that you can get ahead of the crowd in regards to presenting roadmaps.

1. Set a meeting before the meeting.

Meeting with a key stakeholder before the main meeting will take a lot of the weight off your shoulders.

If possible, try and meet them before you even begin the presentation to bounce your ideas off them.

This would mean that you would get an insight into what the executives will be wanting for the company.

With this information, you can ease your way into the presentation with a little bit of insight and knowledge.

Don’t forget that confidence is key in this environment and speaking to someone should fill you with confidence, so don’t be afraid to ask for it when you need it.

2. Try and predict the outcome of the main meeting.

Walking into a meeting you need to think about and predict, what people will find controversial and what people will love.

This isn’t some sort of intuition that some people have, it’s really common sense.

Prepare for any conflicts you may have by researching the topic in depth.

Research is so important, you don’t want to look unprepared when someone comes at you with a question, do you?

Think about how someone might want to dismantle your ideas and use this information.

You will be able to counteract with…

“Yes, I thought about that – but here are the tradeoffs and this is why I think this is the best approach.”

3. Make sure you know your stuff, as “Knowing is half the battle”.

You need to know your presentation inside and out. Be ready for any questions that might come up to do with your data or how you got the information.

Prepare for this by going over your presentation with a fine tooth comb. What could be asked? What are they thinking? You need to know it all. Question everything that you have prepared. Put yourself in their shoes and look at it from an outside perspective.

Product usage analytics page? Or just a visual report? Put that in and show that you know what you’re talking about.

4. Be water, be flexible.

A very important factor to consider when presenting your roadmap is flexibility. Without it, how are you going to put up with executives asking to go back to previous slides?

Don’t let it interrupt your flow. You need to understand that people will interrupt your presentation to ask questions or to see different slides, but be prepared for this.

If you have never really dealt with this kind of thing, then practice with a co-worker so you’re not going in blind. It can really help!

5. Get you some visuals.

Visuals can make or break a presentation. You can have both too many and too little visuals. But don’t just stick to all words, it will get tiresome. Very quickly.

Keep your presentation simple and visual as you do not want too much text on the screen. Beautiful roadmaps should be the focal point as you want to convey what your plans are, with ease.

Try putting in a product mock-up to grab the executives’ attention. You want to make an impact on them and something like this will definitely help!

6. Make your presentation engaging.

Do not read off of the slide. I repeat, do not read of the slides. It looks unprofessional and will make you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Look at those that you’re speaking to in the eyes.

Try and use the presentation as a way of talking to the executives’ in a professional manner while engaging them in conversation about what you want to show them. Don’t worry if you have to go off script, if you know what you’re talking about then you should be fine.

Pause often so as to get feedback or thoughts on what you’re talking about, engage them in conversation about the topic. If no one has any feedback then try to speak to them about what they are seeing.

7. Show some Poise.

To be confident, you need to look confident. And if you don’t, people can sense it. Stay calm in any circumstance as you need to be able to keep your cool to present your ideas.

You cannot control other people but you can control your own actions. Try to take control of any situation that may arise during your presentation. Listen intently to people, giving yourself time to come up with a well-prepared answer.

If you need to come up with a more thoughtful response, then say you will get back to them about it after looking into the issue further after the meeting.

And there you have it.

Wrap up:

7 tips that can help you prepare for and excel at meetings with the executive team

Hopefully, these tips help you nail your next presentation and any ones you’ll have in the future.

What additional tips would you add for presenting to executives? Let us know in the comments below

Next week, we interview Jose Maldonado, Chief Product Officer at Intelligent Medical Objects, and we’re talking about how Aha! has helped their product team be more transparent with their entire organization.

Should make for a really interesting chat and one you won’t want to miss. So, if you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter or if you prefer, subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

See you next time!