Have you ever listened to a presentation and thought “Wow! This is really awesome”? I can raise my hand to that. But I have also attended many presentations that are so boring that I wished I’d left the room. How can a CEO give such a terrible presentation? That’s the question I often ask myself. Your goal as a CEO should be to enter the stage, rock it and create a great, everlasting impression of you and your company.
I have travelled a lot around Norway doing presentations on my experience of starting a company at a young age. Most recently I shared the spotlight with the co-founder of Skype and Dex Carrington from MTV. Right now I am traveling around Norway giving presentations about challenges that you meet as a young entrepreneur and I am really looking forward to speak outside Norway in the near future.
I wish to share my strategy before entering the stage:
1. Practice, practice and even more practice
Think of one of the best athletes achieving a gold medal, such as the Norwegian ski master, Petter Northug. How much practice lies before that winning race? I’d estimate a couple of thousand hours, every day, every week and every month for years. It’s the same recipe towards performing a good presentation. Without practice, you’ll not do your best. My goal is always to own the stage, make the best show, and most importantly to be remembered after leaving. To do so requires a lot of practice. My parents sometimes think that I’ve gone crazy when they hear me talking to myself and laughing alone in our basement for hours, but that’s just me practicing for my next presentation. You just can’t practice enough.
2. Make every slide count
I have some simple rules for slides: no bullet points, only font sizes over 60, and that every single slide must count. Once I’ve made a power-point presentation, I read over each slide and ask myself, “Is this appealing and meaningful? Will people get a wow-feeling?” If not, I’ll make improvements until I am completely satisfied. Every now and then a slide just doesn’t work out. The only solution: hit delete. Make every slide count.
3. Take responsibilities for a flawless presentation
It is very amateurish when something goes wrong during a presentation. It could be a video that’s in the wrong format; a slide that’s half off the screen; or simply that the Powerpoint won’t open. It can be easy to blame the hosts of the event, but in the end, putting the blame on others never improves the audience’s impression of you and your company. Therefore, before every presentation, I make sure that everything works. From the sound and videos, to small details such as the light settings in the room. Knowing that everything will go perfectly gives you that extra boost, and you’ll feel ready to rock the stage. I like to come some hours before or even some days before and just stand on the stage and get the feeling of the room. It helps me a lot!
4. Have fun!
Like many other big speakers, I will admit that I am a bit nervous beforehand. My trick here is to tell myself that I will have so much fun on stage that I’ll completely forget about being nervous. Really, think about it, you are going to be on the stage for about 10-30 minutes? Why not have fun? As a CEO, I know that during every presentation lies a possibility that someone in the audience could be a potential future colleague or an investor. I want to give them the impression of ClickLift as a fun company to work with, that has a CEO boosting with positive energy.
Max Gouchan is the youngest CEO, working in oil & gas related company which consists of engineers and sales-people, and who is probably leading one of the most innovative, exiting and fun companies in Norway to work for today and for the foreseeable future. Follow him on twitter: @gouchanmax
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Category: Startup Advice