Key Elements of a Successful Presentation for a Summit Meeting
Last updated on January 11th, 2020
Summit meetings are not like the mundane day to day meetings and seminars that are many times just a part of some quarterly or annual event. Summits are conducted between stakeholders to discuss pressing issues and therefore require some specific presentation norms to ensure that the topic under discussion is not sidetracked. Therefore, it is important to follow a few key elements of a successful presentation for a summit meeting.
What is a Summit Meeting?
A summit meeting is a conference between officials of the highest level, e.g. an international meeting consisting of head of states or diplomats. A summit is conducted with a prearranged agenda and is meant to address pressing issues. A summit may also be conducted to bring together business owners to enable them to share their experiences, this is called a Business Summit.
What’s the Purpose of a Summit Meeting?
There have been many historic summits conducted during wartime which led to addressing key security concerns for countries. On the contrary, there have been many summits on topics such as climate change which ended in various controversies and even insults. A summit is an important meeting to address and resolve key issues.
What Makes a Summit Meeting Successful?
For a summit meeting to hold meaning, there are arguably to aspects to consider; one the level of goodwill between participants and the second is the urgency or necessity of the matter. The Euro Summit is a meeting between the head of states of Eurozone countries. The summit is conducted at least twice a year to improve Eurozone governance. The level of integration between EU countries makes this summit meaningful, since the economic future of the whole Eurozone depends on such collaboration.
Why do Some Summits Simply Fail to Produce Results?
We can argue that the annual summit by the United Nations on climate change has born little fruit due to the disagreement between countries. While climate change is an essential issue, however, the monetary benefits of countries dictate policy which often comes in collision with what other countries wish to seek. There is little good will between dozens of countries and some see no urgency in addressing climate change; as they continue to opt for policies that are profitable, yet not ecofriendly.
Key Elements of a Presentation for a Summit Meeting
Whether you’re someone who needs to present a presentation at a summit meeting or you are the one tasked with preparing a presentation for a head of state, CEO or senior level diplomat, you must keep in mind the below mentioned key elements of a presentation for a summit meeting.
Account for Time Constraints
Keep in mind that you will have a limited time on the podium. While you might be granted extra time, you don’t want to unnecessarily prolong the discussion as it might become dull and participants might lose interest.
Make Slides that are Simple and to the Point
Since summits are meant to address key issues, you don’t want people to be sidetracked by lengthy discussions and unnecessary details. Keep your slides to the point by addressing key issues and their solutions.
Know Your Audience
You should be aware of the level of understanding of your audience regarding the topic under discussion. Even head of states can fail to understand jargon that might be common for people in a specific country due to the vast cultural, academic and linguistic differences between various countries. Moreover, some head of states are more educated from others. What might be easy enough for an economist to understand might not be that simple for a head of state who was an actor or a sportsman before he got the job.
On the contrary, if you are making a presentation for a business summit with CEOs from different companies attending it, you can safely assume that they will be able to easily understand the various business related jargon that commonly people might not understand.
The presentation must be tailored to account for the audience and their understanding of the topic and should be easy enough for everyone to understand.
Use Visuals to Highlight Important Information
You can save a lot of time and ensure that your slides are easy to understand by using visuals to your advantage. For example, a graphic that shows the melting of ice caps over the past decade can help better explain the effect of global warming as compared to a table with statistics regarding the same issue. You can use graphics, short videos and slide elements using useful icons that can help address the topic under discussion.
Rehearse Your Presentation & Prepare for Tough Questions
Whether you’re the presenter or the one preparing the content for your boss, rehearsing the presentation should be a key part of making it. You can assist your boss or if you’re the presenter; seek help from someone in pointing out possible flaws in your presentation. You can do a mock session to identify tough questions which might be asked during a Q&A session and seek appropriate answers.
Appearing rigid or ignorant is the last thing you want to do at a summit. Since summit meetings are accompanied by heavy media coverage, you don’t want to say or do anything which might result in negative coverage or sharp criticism. It is always a good idea to encourage discussion and be tolerant to people who might criticize your point of view.
Summit meetings are events for addressing issues and sometimes, to share experiences and network with important people from your industry. Your presentation at a summit can make or break your reputation or the organization or country that you’re representing. Some countries in Asia for instance, are often blamed by not cooperating enough for climate change initiatives. Similarly, some businesses can be seen as rigid and unethical if their CEOs are unable to address sharp criticism regarding the social responsibility of their company. Many people try to dodge questions using generic answers. While this might work sometimes, such a response can result in negative coverage in the wake of social media activism.
The best way to deliver a summit meeting presentation is to speak from the heart, keep the facts in mind, make a straightforward presentation and to prepare for tough questions beforehand.