Marketing Strategy

Presenting to Your School Board? Here's How to Prepare

October 13, 2020

So, the day has come! You've been invited to present to your school board and represent your team. Maybe you are trying to increase your budget for next year. Maybe you are reporting on your results. Maybe you are giving an update about a project that you are leading. Or maybe you're doing a little bit of each. 

No matter the purpose for your presentation, it's important that you put your best foot forward. The first step to ensuring success at a board meeting is thorough preparation. Throwing together a slide deck and some notes the night before isn't going to cut it. So, here's how you can prepare to win big at your next board meeting.

 

1. Understand your requirements

When you're asked to present, your board members may be looking for a short and sweet overview of your team's performance, or a more in-depth analysis of your results over the previous period. It's important that you get a full briefing of what you're required to do (including your time limit!) well before you start preparing.

You will also want to ensure you think about the topics that they are likely to ask you about — even if those topics are outside of the scope of your brief. For example, if you are an IT Manager or CIO, in 2020 there is a very good chance you will be asked to give an update on your school's cyber security measures, even if you're presenting on budgets. Or if you work in admissions, you will likely be asked to provide a forecast update — regardless of the time of year.

 

2. Know your audience

Once you understand the type of information you're required to present, the next step is to understand who you're presenting to. Jay Ferro, vice president and CIO/CTO at ExamWorks recommends: "If this is your first time presenting and you don’t know them at all, spend some time with colleagues that do know them and have presented to them in the past so you can avoid landmines."

It can also be helpful for you to get an idea of how the different board members feel about your department and your projects. This can help you to plan how you will approach your presentation and if you will need to come prepared to win them over. 

 

3. Reference the school strategic plan

No matter what you're presenting, it's key that you can demonstrate how your department, initiatives, budget and projects contribute to the school's strategic plan. Request a copy well in advance and read up!

 

4. Make your data memorable

Data storytelling is an underrated skill, but it's an important one for any person who has to report on results. If you've ever been in a presentation and seen the old Excel sheet come out, you'll understand why. Numbers just don't mean anything without context and visualisation.

 

Not sure how to do this? Check out our post,

Data Storytelling: How to Make Your Reports Meaningful

 

Once you've got your numbers together, put some effort into the charts and graphs you're using within your slide deck. Edraw suggests five easy tips to help improve your presentation:

  1. Simplify complex statistics and ideas.
  2. Help viewers get to the point instantly.
  3. Make the information visually pleasing.
  4. Add interest to dry data.
  5. Help analysts extract more useful information from data.

You can read a further breakdown on each of these points, by checking out their informative post here.

 

5. Practice, practice, practice!

The final preparation step is to practice your heart out before your presentation. Run through your entire speech a number of times on your own, and then present to someone else to get feedback on how you're presenting. Make sure you leave plenty of time to ensure you're as confident with your entire presentation as possible.

 

And that's it! Presenting to your school board can be a nerve-wracking proposition, but with a little bit of preparation, you can do the absolute best job of representing your team. Do you have any more tips for preparing to win big at your next board meeting? Email us and let us know!