Management Presentation: 8 Tips, Examples & a Template

In a corporate context, presenting works wonders for a career. Most professionals get exposure to presenting to informed colleagues and department managers. It’s an ideal way to get visibility and show value. But a management presentation to senior executives who aren’t familiar department nuances is a different ballgame.

A management presentation is a high-level summary to senior executive that optimizes reports to include only the details relevant to directorial decisions. They are notoriously difficult to navigate for two reasons: 1. most executives do not have working knowledge of the nuances in each department, 2. presenters rarely have time to understand executives’ preferences.

More than anything else, good management presenters learn how to strike a balance in the degree of detail: they provide enough detail so executives make informed decisions, but not so much detail that they cause confusion.

This article explores how to make a good management presentations in PowerPoint using 4 management presenting best practices, 4 management presenting techniques, providing examples for each, and finishing with a management presentation template you can apply in real life. You can use it as a jumping off point for deeper communication curriculum.

5 management presenting best practices are:

  1. Ask what managers prefer ahead of time.
  2. Have 1 message, and 1 message Only.
  3. The only words should be “Thought Starters.”
  4. Keep it short.
  5. Practice 7 times in advance.

4 management presenting techniques are:

  1. Use a CSP model – Challenge, Solution, Progress.
  2. Begin with a summary of exactly 3 points.
  3. Use only these 3 chart types: bar, line, scatter.
  4. Design slides with the company logo.

I will use a financial analyst perspective in this article, but everything here applies to data and business analysts as well.

Ask Executives Their Preference Ahead of Time

If you’ve ever taken a class on presentation techniques, you’ve heard the old adage “know your audience.” It’s true, the best way to deliver a great presentation is to align your message with what your audience already understands. The same applies to a management presentation.

The challenge is that, more often than not, executives are too busy for you to get to know them well. This means you hardly get the chance to understand how they like presentations. So what can you do? Well, ask them! There’s no harm in sending an email to understand better. And what’s more, once you know, you can always defer to their preferences in the future.

For a financial management presentation, common questions to ask include the following:

  • Do you prefer to see raw data, or only visualizations?
  • Do you prefer charts or table summaries?
  • Would you like a written explanation on paper for each slide?
  • Do you like averages alone, or do you prefer means, or standard deviation?
  • What interests you most in a presentation?

If you gather some helpful insights, then your presentation will be that much better. That said, you may not get a response, or it may be quick and not insightful. But most senior executives will appreciate you asking.

The best part is you will be able to surprise them. Using the best practices and techniques below, in additional to any insights gathered form your email, will work wonders for you.

Have 1 Message, and 1 Message Only

The easiest mistake to make on a management presentation is trying to deliver multiple messages. Senior executives go through loads of meetings every day, and each meeting they have includes a wave of information. Your mission should be to deliver 1 essential message so they can easily understand and compartmentalize it.

This is no easy task. When I try to narrow down the focus of my management presentation message, it seems like I leave out critical information along the way. The key is to tell a story to incorporate critical information as part of a story towards the essential message.

For example, imagine you work for a wholesale watch company called Batch Watch. You want to explain a financing operation in which the company has the option of two loans to fund the initial costs of 10,000 watches. These loans have different interest rates and maturity dates. Loan A is better if the company expects to sell the watches within 3 months, while Loan B is better if the company expects to sell over more than 3 months. Each has cancellation fees and cash flow impacts.

Instead of showing the cancellation fees and cash flow impact of the each loan, all you need to say is “we expect the company to sell them within 3 months, and we recommend loan A for that reason.” If the executives disagree on the sale timeline, they will ask for more information.

This is how you keep senior executives engaged, by integrating them in the story you tell. Ultimately, the essential message of your presentation should be how much profit the company will make from the watch funding operation. Senior executives should leave feeling like the project is in good hands with you, and they only feel that way when you tell a story around the essential message.

Whatever the Message, Use Data

Whatever message you want to send, it needs to be backed up by data. In the example above the data was financial, but it’s not always that simple. Context may require you to provide KPIs and perform extensive data analysis that culminates in a small output that your viewers can easily digest.

You need to be strong with data to deliver a good management presentation. To get started or refresh your memory, you can read AnalystAnswers’ free Intro to Data Analysis eBook.

The Only Words Should be “Thought Starters”

As a general presentation principle, you should not write many thoughts down on presentation slides. Words have two negative impacts on the audience: they demand energy from the reader, and they make the reader feel compelled to read, lest they misunderstand.

If you can avoid putting text blocks altogether, do. If you don’t need any writing at all, don’t. However, if you need guidance as you speak or want to provide reminders for a later data, use “Thought Starters.”

Thought starters are phrases of 3 words maximum that contain ideas leading to the essential message. People often call them “bullet points,” which is common for list-style thought starters. Personally, I prefer to place thought starters at different places on a slide. When I use a chart, for example, I put thought starters at relevant places on the slide.

Keep it Short

Your presentation should never consume more than 80% of the allotted timeframe. This means that if you plan a 5 minutes meeting, deliver the presentation in 4 minutes. If you’re given 30 minutes, do it in 25 minutes. If you have 1 hour, do it in 45 minutes.

By keeping the presentation short, you relieve the audience and you allow for some question buffer. Have you ever sat in a meeting planned for 1 hour, and at 45m it ends early? It’s a pleasure for everyone. Most of us feel like we’re running behind — when you put us ahead of schedule, we love you!

At the same time, senior executives may bombard you with questions throughout the presentation. If you planned to fill the whole timeframe, you won’t finish. But if you planned to finish early, you still have a chance.

And if you use the rest of these best practices and techniques, those senior executives shouldn’t need to ask too many questions!

Practice 7 Times in Advance

There’s a mix of opinions on the number of times you should rehearse a presentation before doing it live, but most people agree that it’s somewhere between 5 and 10 times. If you take nothing else from this article, take this. To deliver a good presentation, prepare excellent slides; to deliver a great presentation, practice presenting them 7 times.

To deliver a good presentation, prepare excellent slides; to deliver a great presentation, practice presenting them 7 times.

But just practicing isn’t enough, there are a few criteria you must meet:

  1. Practice in the room you will present in. There’s something about envisioning yourself live that really makes a difference. When you practice in a space other that where you’ll present, it’s good. But when you practice in the “live” room, you’re able to sensitize yourself to the environment, which calms nerves so you can focus on the message.
  2. Have an audience. We all behave differently when there’s stimulus of other people around. Whenever possible, get one or two people to whom you can present. In addition to getting used to having an audience, you’ll also get some feedback.
  3. Use the same volume of voice. When we’re not “live,” we have a tendency to hold back on our voice. This is detrimental to the presentation because you feel taken off guard by your own voice. Make sure to envision yourself in front of the senior execs when you practice.

Best Practices Recap

  • Ask what managers prefer ahead of time.
  • Have 1 message, and 1 message Only.
  • The only words should be “Thought Starters.”
  • Keep it short.
  • Practice 7 times in advance.

We’ve addressed 5 best practices — now let’s turn our attention to 4 specific techniques you can easily implement. And when you do, that work wonders for management presenting.

Use a CSP Model (Challenge, Solution, Progress)

Every presentation needs structure, but it’s easy to forget that we need to guide our audience. A great way to structure management reports is using the CSP model. CSP stands for Challenge, Solution, Progress, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

You need to explain the challenge or goal, explain what the solution to the challenge is (or how to achieve the goal), and show where you are in the steps to completing that goal.

For example, let’s look at our Batch Watch case. Imagine you need to find funding for a new product launch — $100,000 to be exact. A sample CSP model for this would be a slide that shows:

Example CSP (Challenge, Solution, Progress) Model

By using the CSP model, you guide the audience. However, it’s important to note that the CSP model is not a summary. It’s an overview of the process, but a summary should always come before. Let’s talk about it now.

Begin with a Summary of Exactly 3 Points

Any good presentation begins with a summary. And a good summary communicates the essential message simply in 3 points. However, the summary is not the same thing as the CSP model. Instead, it provides an alternative view on the challenge and and solution.

For example, using our Batch Watch case of funding a new product, you could address a summary in the following way:

  1. Challenge, Solution, Progress
  2. Funding acquisition
  3. Project Timeline

This provides additional details that are most relevant to the project and carry added value to the CSP model.

Use only Bar Charts (aka Column Charts), Line Graphs, and Scatter Plots

Whether it’s for data, financial, and business analyst topics, management presentations should only ever have bar charts, line graphs, and scatter plots. They are common, rich in information, and well understood. Any other kind of graph is distracting more than anything else.

A bar graph is useful when you want to compare like variables. For example, if you want to show the average size of Canadian trout versus American trout. A common mistake, though, is to use bar graphs to show change over time. While it’s not incorrect to do so, line graphs are better for this purpose.

A line graph is useful when you want to show change in one variable over time (we call this time series data). For example, if you want to show the progression of revenues over time, line graphs are the perfect way to do so.

A scatter plot is best when you want to compare a set of observations of one variable to a set of observations of another. It’s the ideal way to quickly visualize the relationship between two variables. For example, if you want to see how company revenues compare to GDP, you could use a scatter plot like this:

For example, let’s look at our Batch Watch case. If we want to see how our company is performing compared to the economy as a whole, we could use this scatter plot. As you can see, we have a positive (bottom left to top right) relationship, but a weak one (points not clustered closely).

Sample Scatter Plot of USA GDP and Bath Watch Revenue

Design Slides Using the Company Logo

When you’re presenting to senior executives, you want your slides to look professional. The best way to do that is by putting your company logo on them, including any corporate design standards (colors, fonts, etc). Show through your presentation that you belong to the same company, and that you’re in it in spirit. For example, let’s add the logo to our CSP slide:

Techniques Recap

  • Use a CSP model – Challenge, Solution, Progress.
  • Begin with a summary of exactly 3 points.
  • Use only these 3 chart types: bar, line, scatter.
  • Design slides with the company logo.


Here’s a sample management presentation template below. I hope you understand after reading this article that management presentation is more about your delivery than it is about the slides you prepare.

Download Management Presentation Template for Free

While the techniques we’ve discussed will help you build a good presentation, your success really depends on how well you deliver the ideas needed to help senior executives make decisions. At the end of the day, it’s all about balance.

If you only remember two things from this article, remember that great management presenters give enough detail to inform senior executive but not too much that they cause confusion, and great management presenters make sure they do so by practicing 7 times in advance. You’ll have to practice, practice, practice.

About the Author


Noah is the founder & Editor-in-Chief at AnalystAnswers. He is a transatlantic professional and entrepreneur with 5+ years of corporate finance and data analytics experience, as well as 3+ years in consumer financial products and business software. He started AnalystAnswers to provide aspiring professionals with accessible explanations of otherwise dense finance and data concepts. Noah believes everyone can benefit from an analytical mindset in growing digital world. When he's not busy at work, Noah likes to explore new European cities, exercise, and spend time with friends and family.


Scroll to Top