Our Bay Area event this week was packed with reinforced product management best practices for when you’re preparing to get executive buy-in. From specifics on how to prepare your presentation deck, to tips on conveying those hard to explain numbers, Google Product Lead Ravi Gampala goes beyond simply sharing his executive preparation checklist. Watch the entire webinar right here, scroll through the highlights below, and swing by our Events page to get a sneak peek at who is taking over our Zoom next week.

On stakeholder feedback and getting ahead of errors

It can be nerve-wracking to present to the executive team. Whether it’s simply informative or there are decisions on the line, it’s the job of the product manager to represent the project, topic, or product as well as possible in order to obtain that executive buy-in. Ravi captivates a packed zoom audience by starting with best practices on ways to gather feedback and catch errors before you enter the boardroom.

“Seek out other PMs to do spot checks to catch logical errors before presentation to stakeholders. In the process, validate the product using known examples. Being so close to the product can blind you from obvious problems that others may catch.”

“It’s your product manager obligation that you include input from stakeholders in your presentation. The sooner you share your deck, the better, this saves rework. Also, ensure the decision-makers provide their feedback, you should hear their perspective.”

“Remember that questions can be indicative of interest, so be receptive, not defense, to questions. Solicit questions, encourage interaction, and answer directly with a smiling face.”

Tips for presenting the difficult numbers or topics

Hopefully when it comes time to share the deck you’ll have every number ready and all errors scrubbed out. Things do happen, however, and preparing for contingencies and hiccups will help with smooth execution in the moment. Ravi reinforces product manager best practices throughout his presentation, stating that the goal is to make those skills second nature.

“No matter how simple a calculation, make sure you can explain the math in a simple way to other people, not just yourself. Keep back-of-the-envelope calculations handy, and take along other well-prepared colleagues to provide support to the difficult topics.” 

“The first thing you need to get that executive buy-in is to start right away with the purpose of the presentation. There are only two categories: informative, or decision-making.”

“Emotionally winning people takes a whole different set of skills. One great way is to set expectations for the presentation ahead. Do your homework, and make sure that you can disagree without being disagreeable.”

“Convey the main themes, not necessarily the whole content. Package your message to fit the time you have, and remember, the more you talk, the less they listen. You’re there to cover your mission. Achieve that, then cover other topics. Use fewer slides, and up-level the presentation style.”

This product management event was sponsored by the amazing teams at Vonage, Sisense, and Tableau.