How to Polish Presentation Skills in a Board Meeting

January 16, 2017
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Board meetings are a bit like theater. They require a good script, a charismatic performer, and a captive audience. Some board meetings are worthy of Broadway, while others never make it past the dress rehearsal. Startups who want to fascinate clients, colleagues and investors need to communicate more effectively with their audience. Here's how staff can brush up on their presentation skills and become the star of the show.

Change the Communication Style

Research shows that the best board meetings — the ones that generate the most interest — all have something in common: the speaker is able to communicate fluently. This person commands the room, exchanges ideas and, ultimately, encourages debate. Discussion-based board meetings — where everyone in the boardroom talks about different topics in an open forum format — are the most effective, according to one study, with 50 percent of brands preferring this pitching style over more formal presentations. This means people favor dialog over a lengthy, tedious monolog.


Board meeting length is just as important. Sixty-one percent of brands prefer meetings that last between 30 and 60 minutes, compared to 28 percent who favor meetings that clock in under 30 minutes. Regardless of the duration of the board meeting, a good speaker should inform, persuade and entertain: "Communicating is easy, but communicating well takes skill," says online marketing expert Jayson DeMers. "Thinking beyond basic language rules and facilitating effective, positive exchanges of information is something not everyone can do."

Use a Pitch Deck

A pitch deck is a collection of slides — between 10 and 20, usually — that summarizes policy issues, company objectives or a business plan. Basically, it includes everything that speakers should communicate to their audience in an upcoming board meeting. All of this information is displayed on eye-catching slides, which add a visual component to a presentation. Typically, speakers use a pitch deck template with graphs, maps, images and other graphic elements to boost engagement.

Pitch decks often prove to be fruitful. Startups use them to secure investment. Scale ups use them to impress new clients. Multinational brands use them to discuss important issues, such as marketing and financial performance. Many of the world's top brands have utilized pitch decks to drive interest in their services. Customer messaging platform Intercom, social media application Buffer, and Airbnb are just three examples of companies who have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars after creating a successful deck.

Slidebean has a range of pitch deck templates that make a presentation come alive. The result? Brilliant board meetings. Companies can create a professional deck in just minutes, too.

Provide a Solution to a Problem


The most effective board meetings present solutions to problems. Speakers should discuss how a product, service or policy change will help people achieve their goals, for example, or how they can save their company money. "Always translate your product’s features into your customers’ benefits," says Steli Efti from the Young Entrepreneur Council, a nonprofit organization that helps startups and entrepreneurs. "Don’t focus on the bells and whistles, but what they do for them."

One way to present solutions to problems is by using a pitch deck. Speakers should include slides that alleviate any fears their audience might have and back up their suggestions with statistics and research.


Presenting a board meeting doesn't have to be a challenge. Speakers who do it properly could wow their audience and create lucrative new opportunities. Before speakers head into the boardroom, they should create a pitch deck, change their communication style and provide solutions to problems. This way, they can impress and influence everyone at their meeting: advisors, founders, and crucial clients.

Useful example:

With this Board Meeting Presentation template you start off with your agenda so your audience knows what they are going to be covering from the start.

CEO at Slidebean/FounderHub. TEDx Speaker. 500 Startups Alum. 40-under-40.
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