Program Presentation Basics


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All program managers need to strategically choose program communication processes. Unfortunately, technology has complicated the decision-making process for program managers, providing a myriad of methods for communication. Because there are so many choices, confusion often results. Our ability to extract value from technological advances in communication methods lags the rate at which new methods are created.

Our 5 part Guide to Program Communication Processes will ensure your program and project communication is streamlined and helps you achieve strategic goals.

Part 1 of 5: Notifiership
Part 2 of 5: Program Meetings
Part 3 of 5: Team Charters
Part 4 of 5: Virtual and Global Teams
Part 5 of 5: Program Presentation Basics

Part 5 of 5: Program Communication Processes – Program Presentation Basics

The way the program manager and program personnel make program presentations is a reflection of the program’s credibility and effectiveness. Therefore, the program manager has to ensure that all program presentations are professional and meet the needs of the decision maker and/or audience for the presentation.

The following tips will help ensure good program presentations:

1. Know the objective for the presentation. You should know what the presentation is supposed to accomplish. Is it a presentation to inform? Is a decision required? Whatever the goal, the presentation should be structured to facilitate the achievement of that goal. Additionally, the program manager needs to make sure that the person giving the presentation also knows the goals and objectives.

2. Know the audience or decision maker. Know decision makers’ preferences, likes, and dislikes with regard to the way they receive information. Then structure the presentation in the manner that best fits the decision maker’s personal style. The organization’s political environment is dynamic, and high-level organizational leaders and stakeholders often change. Don’t assume that the preferences of the new leader are the same as those of the previous leader.

3. Know your material. There is no excuse for the program managers or the project manager to be inadequately prepared for a presentation. If you’re not ready to present for some reason, it is always better to reschedule than to try to present without sufficient preparation.

4. Know your graphics. Unless you know that the decision maker or audience wants and expects a lot of charts and graphs, you should limit the amount of visual aids you provide.

5. Know the look. If the environment is business casual, dressed-up business casual may be acceptable if you are the presenter. If the audience is in suits and ties, wearing a suit and tie is appropriate. If you can’t get an accurate assessment of the dress code, remember that it is always better to be overdressed than under-dressed. Jackets and ties are easily removed.

During the presentation, be explicit about what you want the decision maker to do. Never assume that he or she will make the logical leap and do what is required or expected. You can even have a specific bullet that says “I [or we or the XYZ program] need you to__________ by the 15th of next month.” Then explain the ramification of what happens if ________is not done.

Once your team has decided on their plan and process, PPM software can help you execute that process. WorkOtter helps you successfully execute your program process strategy for project success. Get a demo of WorkOtter and see how we can make your program management effective.

“The Handbook of Program Management: How to Facilitate Project Success with Optimal Program Management, Second Edition” by James T. Brown is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. ©2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. Purchase the book on Amazon.