Don’t have time for the video?

There are five simple things you can do to help you land your messages with impact:

1. Prepare by thinking about your audience

Look at the world through your audience’s eyes to help you craft your message. Think about what they’re interested in and might grab their attention. This is likely to be things that impact the organisation’s reputation, its stakeholders, agility, or value creation. Then, address their emotions. What might they be feeling about your topic? And what do you need them to feel by the end of your presentation? Appeal to hearts as well as minds to get them to act.

2. Use a pyramid structure to unpack your message

The important messages come first, sitting at the apex of the pyramid. This is your Executive Summary, start there with your context and key conclusions. Prepare a 1-minute elevator pitch to grab your audience’s attention. The rationale or process then sits beneath, in layers of decreasing importance but increasing detail. Only dip into these lower layers as guided by your audience. As a subject matter expert, you’ll be most comfortable here, but your audience have less care for it.

3. Keep language simple and engage eye contact

Your credibility goes up when you can express complex ideas in simple language. Short words and sentences are the key. Engage eye contact for your important points. Looking at someone for the length of 1–2 sentences is about right.

4. Pause to deal with nerves

Pausing slows down your adrenaline and gives you time to think. When we’re nervous we often speed up, and our best thinking eludes us. Plan deliberate pauses after important messages so that your audience hangs on your every word.

5. It’s okay to not always know the answer to a question

Questions are good, it shows your audience is engaged. There are two types of question you can expect to asked:

  1. A build — these are thoughts triggered by your paper. It’s okay to not know the answer. Say “It’s a great question, I hadn’t thought of that, I’ll go and find out.” Bluffing erodes trust, so don’t go there.
  2. Clarifications — These might be due to blindspots in your paper or something they didn’t understand. Before your dive in, qualify the question. Are you looking for “X”? This will ensure you answer with the appropriate evidence + details.

Have questions?

Ask Anna

Have a burning question about reporting that you’d like to ask our expert? Want us to focus on a particular topic in the coming months? Ask Anna.

Where can I find other videos like this?

You can find all our bite-sized videos on the BI Academy:

  • Log into your Board Intelligence platform on any web browser.
  • Click the “Academy” icon in the top ribbon.
  • Use the search bar to find a specific video, or if you’d like to browse all our best practice content, simply hit “Course & Learning: Best Practice for Effective Meetings.”

You can also find our suite of best-practice templates within the BI Platform (under the “Templates” icon in the top ribbon). These provide a starter for ten on the questions likely to be on your readers’ minds for particular topics and help you to structure your thinking in a logical and robust way.

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