Presenting Like an Executive: PowerPoints

Jonathan Perillo, CPP, PCI, PSP

One of the biggest hurdles that I faced when I began working in more senior roles was communicating effectively with executives. These exchanges were nothing like I’d experienced before, especially grasping how much information is exchanged in such a short time, which can dumbfound professionals at all levels. It takes time and effort to master these interactions. Whether it’s perfecting your executive vernacular, preparing your “elevator pitches,” or giving a noteworthy presentation, one thing is clear: executives communicate differently. This is made abundantly clear in the tools that executives use to communicate, like PowerPoints. Understanding this difference is key to the success of every senior security executive, as failing to effectively communicate with other executives could be detrimental to a department and a person’s career, regardless of the quality of topics being presented.  

I chose to focus on the PowerPoint aspect of presenting for three primary reasons. Firstly, security professionals who are developing their career will be invited to give input to executive presentations or be asked to create these presentations long before they are invited to give them. Being able to provide valuable input during these times can be a key contributing factor to a person’s professional journey.

Secondly, even the most persuasive speaker has difficulty overcoming an inadequate PowerPoint during formal executive presentations. PowerPoints are not only a tool, but they are a required and expected aspect of these exchanges, especially when dealing with executives. The expression “a picture speaks a thousand words” demonstrates the impact of a PowerPoint during what is supposed to be a somewhat brief interaction, and an ill-prepared PowerPoint requires an amount of showmanship that would be difficult to achieve, even for the most experienced of presenters.

Lastly, equipping security professionals around the world with these tools allows them to not only communicate with their leadership teams more effectively, but also elevates the security function within an organization. By communicating with executives in the same means as they communicate to others ensures that security professionals are seen as peers and advocates, elevating the value of the presenter and their department. 

“Presenting Like an Executive: PowerPoints” will help security professionals of all levels to understand and recognize this difference and will equip them with tools to help them avoid common pitfalls in their presentations by recognizing the need for certain fundamental concepts. Embracing these concepts will create not only more personal and departmental success but will lead to more meaningful exchanges and championing of ideas with executive groups. 

I’m very excited to have been invited to speak on this topic, and I can’t wait to engage with security professionals and hear how they’ve been able to leverage these understandings and concepts in their own presentations! 

You can watch Jonathan Perillo’s full presentation along with two others in the GSX 2023 Career HQ skill-building collection.