Gaining executive buy in

You’ve done your homework and research, and designed a training program that you know will bring positive business results to your organization. Your team and immediate supervisor have weighed in, and you have a plan ready to put in front of the C-team. How do you make a pitch that works and has you looking like a rock star?

At SweetRush, we’re often partnering with our clients to present their program ideas and objectives to their C-level leaders. Here are a few techniques that we often use to ensure we give a concise and impactful message.

  1. Avoid “wimpy” words —both verbally and in writing — when gaining executive buy-in. Instead, use actionable and strong words. Don’t say, “The goal we are trying to accomplish is a 10 percent increase in sales by implementing this training program.”; instead,say, “We will see a 10 percent increase in sales by implementing this training program.” By keeping your language strong and concise, your idea will come across as more credible and likely to happen. The same goes for jargon: Just because your audience is in the same company, business, or whatever as you, doesn’t mean they understand your department’s jargon.
  2. Practice. Whether you’re presenting on your own, or with a team, remember to practice. The best athletic teams in the world practice for hours each day. Your presentation is a performance; apply the necessary practice hours needed beforehand to ensure your pitch is a success. This includes dry runs, technology checks, team practice, and individual presentations. With team practice, determine ahead of time who will field questions and/or which questions each team member is best prepared to answer.
  3. Keep it short. We are all short on time, and we expect it to be used wisely. Expect this even more from your organization’s C-level leaders. If you think your presentation should take an hour, find a way to do it in 45 minutes. Keep your message simple, concise, and to the point.
  4. Anticipate the questions. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes: What information will they want to know more about? What questions will they have? What do they need to know or understand to give you approval to move forward? As much as possible, learn about your audience’s preferences. Anticipate these questions and have responses prepared. If you’re not sure what questions to prepare for, ask your colleagues, your supervisor, and your social networks.

What other strategies do you use when presenting to leaders in your organization or your clients’ organizations?