The pressures on: Three tips to deliver a presentation to a large audience cooly, credibly and without boring everyone

While watching the President’s State of the Union address a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of the many times I have worked with CEOs to deliver their annual “State of the Company” addresses. In both cases, there is an exorbitant amount of pressure to deliver often complex and substantive information in a way that everyone listening can understand and relate. All attention is on you: eyes and ears eager to hear your perspective on the organization. If you fail to inspire, you could negatively impact future business, sales opportunities, and investor confidence. Or, if you ignore the elephant in the room, or overpromise and under deliver, you run the risk of losing employee loyalty. No pressure, right?

When preparing for presentations of this magnitude keep the following in mind:

Make the audience your number one priority from the beginning. Grab their attention immediately by addressing one of their top concerns. Continue to engage them throughout your speech by focusing on what do they want to know.

Be solution oriented. When discussing challenges, be open and honest. Don’t ignore problems or sugar-coat them. Acknowledge them then share what the strategy is to overcome them.

End with optimism. Be the North Star. Your audience is looking to you for direction but they also appreciate their contributions being recognized. Applaud their efforts. Give specific examples of individual and departmental achievements. Ask employees for their continued support to obtain company goals and explain what the benefits to them and the company will be. This will help make your audience feel motivated and confident in the direction in which the company is heading.