Leadership

Video: Five classic mistakes in a boardroom pitch

There are many ways to shoot yourself in the foot during a pitch to the board. This episode of CIO Sanity Savers helps sidestep the obvious landmines.

There are a number of ways you can shoot yourself in the foot during a presentation to the board. This episode of CIO Sanity Savers helps sidestep some of the obvious landmines.

For those of you who prefer text over video, you can click the "Transcript" link underneath the video or you can read the BNET article from Steve Tobak that this episode was based on: 5 Classic Boardroom Mistakes.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

5 comments
tvt221
tvt221

I think that's good advice, but I'd take the executive backing a step further. As a consultant, one of my major tasks is acting as staff to a large video and data network's board on behalf of thousands of stakeholders. When there is a pitch to be made or a budget decision we want the board to approve, we meet with EVERY voting member ahead of time, brief them on everything we are going to bring up, show them the slide deck, and answer as many questions as possible before the meeting day even arrives. Surprises still happen, but we avoid a lot of angst by doing all we can to ensure that the real meetings happen long before the big meeting begins. Of course, this doesn't work in situations where you have to present on the spur of the moment. Hopefully, there aren't a lot of spontaneous board meetings, though.

Curtis R. Unruh
Curtis R. Unruh

Keep it short as possible. No more than three slides (if you use them). Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them. Get out.

jconroy64
jconroy64

Jason, great video...very informing. I have personally expereinced some of the pitfalls you described. One, if you have a controversial plan, be sure to have internal alignment first; and second, regardless of how "dysfunctional" the Chairman may act, always afford him / her the highest level of respect (especially in the boardroom). Another pitfall (I have been a CIO for 15-years, so I have learned a lot) is not to make a commitment to the board on the "spot" without being 100% certain you can pull it off in the timeframe they specified. The board will tend to pressure the CIO's, COO's, to make commiments right then and there. And if you first advise you need to confirm and get back; they will come back around again (and again) and try to get that commitment. Hold your ground...Only promise what you know you can deliver and by when.

santeewelding
santeewelding

A cigar, or riding crop, better than the fingertip ingratiation. Maybe glasses, so you can look over their top. You aren't making the pitch. You are laying down the law for those who do.