Are you presenting at the right level?

Take a good look at this graphic.

Are you presenting at this level? If your audience is a group of programmers or engineers, maybe this is the level you should be discussing your points.

But, , , if the room is a group of company executives, presenting at this level will put them to sleep, , , completely asleep.

Being high detail oriented as we are, we tend to think our audience needs a complete and full set of information to be able to understand something or to make a decision. This is not always the case. High detail technical people need lots of detail but low detail people usually don’t, , , and guess which group company executives tend to fall in when it comes to technology.

You got it, , , the low detail group.

Discuss issues with your senior management team at the 30,000 foot level unless you know they want lots of detail. Give them the answers, not all the mechanics of how you plan to do something. They want to know what the value is, where the risks are, and how much it’s going to cost, , , if they want to know how you will go about doing the work, they will ask you, , , and then you can discuss the “hows”.

When you prepare to make a project recommendation, present to a group of people, or discuss an issue with someone, , , be sure to consider who they are and at what level you need to discuss your points.

I would tend to err on the higher level side; you can always go into more detail if needed. But if you start with too much detail and lose your audience, it’s over.

Sometimes “less is more”.

3 responses to “Are you presenting at the right level?

  1. Pingback: Need help in planning for promotion interview | ITLever™

  2. Cost is pretty straightforward.
    Value must be discussed in terms of “business value”, not “IT value”. I discuss “business value” in one of the ITLever posts – see

    Risk must also be discussed in business terms, preferably a financial perspective if possible to help senior managers gain a real appreciation for the level of risk.

    Senior managers hear and understand you when they hear you communicate like a business person, , , they don’t get it when you talk like a technology person.

  3. Agree. But how do you make those 3 important (value, risk and cost) register?

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