You've Got Five Minutes with an Executive...Go!

What to do when your meeting is cut short

You’ll probably recognize this scenario: You’ve spent weeks preparing to deliver a huge proposal, including countless hours researching, designing, and putting together a tightly scripted 30-minute presentation. If you land this deal, you’re going to look really good.

…except, the team of senior executives you’re prepared to wow is running late. You now have five minutes.

What do you do? How do you cram 30 minutes of awesomeness into just five minutes?

Introducing… The Pivottm

As part of knowing your audience and walking in their shoes, you need to always prepare for the unexpected, and be flexible enough to pivot to their needs. Using core story structure as your foundation, when given a compressed timeframe to present your story, start with your BIG idea first.

The Pivot

By starting with the BIG Idea, you can provoke a dialogue with your audience, in this case a team of senior executives. If they ask for more context, you can then pivot to the setting, characters, or conflict in your story (the WHY). This can be done verbally or visually, and act as a very brief background explanation to what you were going to present in 30 minutes.

If your executives are impatient and want to hear the resolution (meaning, if they accept your BIG Idea without requesting more context) you can jump to the resolution (the HOW). The resolution is where you can hit them with your concrete plan and details ready upon request.

Expect the Unexpected

The Pivot isn’t hard, but you must know your story backwards and forwards, and learn the important skill of being flexible. Yes, you’ve prepared a well-ordered, well-constructed story, but you must also be prepared to get thrown off course. Depending on the needs of your audience, you’ll have to zig and zag, go back and forth, drill down, or stay high level. To keep you (and your audience) oriented to your story, you’ll need an anchor point… a home base from which to pivot. The anchor point is always your BIG Idea.

Want more strategies for navigating difficult situations, like when your time is cut short or your boss asks you for "just 3-5 slides"? Our self-paced, on-demand storytelling course has videos and case studies that will teach you how, plus loads of real-world advice and examples to help make you a nimble storyteller. Click here to register!

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