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How to Successfully Present to a Higher-up at Work (Without Freaking Out)

By | Jo Miller |

A business idea pops into your head. It’s a good one—solid enough for you to summarize and run up the chain of command. A few weeks go by, and you nearly forgot about it—that is, until your manager informs you that you’re on the agenda to present your ideato the CEO.

Minutes later, you’re having a mini-meltdown, imagining the worst-case scenario in which you humiliate yourself in front of the company head during the one face-time opportunity you’ve had since you got the job.

Presenting to a C-suite executive or senior manager, especially when you’re entry-level or somewhere in the middle, requires a different set of skills compared to run-of-the-mill speaking presentations. Because the roles of these high-level staff are quite different than the mid-level managers you may be used to working with, their objectives, communication styles, and decision-making methods are going to be distinct as well.

But whether you’re pitching an idea for a new product, process, or other special initiative, you’ve got this. All you need is some solid preparation and a few adjustments to your usual delivery style.

I turned to two C-suite executives for guidance on how to pull off this next-level career move like a rockstar. Here are their top seven lessons:

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