Know Your Audience
Do your homework to know who the stakeholders are. What are their personalities like? How do they make decisions? What are they responsible for and how does this project affect them?
Use their language and build an emotional bond with each stakeholder by bringing your genuineness and passion. Ensure they understand the nature and scope of the project. Have a "champion" to help support you and compliment your planning stage.
State The Scope Of The Project
Start with an overall statement of the goals of the project. What is the challenge or problem this project will solve or achieve? Identify the steps of the project, resources required including internal resources and external resources as applicable.
Provide a visual roadmap of the project with a whiteboard session, presentation slides or a video can be a great method for certain projects. Include how the plan is going to resolve the challenge or achieve the goals. Provide estimated results both conservative and aggressive in range.
Know Your Facts
Bring just the facts to your plan. You can share a story or two as long as you keep in mind it needs to align with the details of the project. Compare what others are doing with similar projects. Demonstrate these with successes and lessons learned from others.
Outline the timeline required and what is required to achieve a successful project within this timeline. An agreed upon deadline needs to be set. Establish the metrics to measure the success of the project.
The budget is always the toughest part of planning a project, unless you already have a realistic budget approved up front! Along with the budget, the return on the investment is important. Provide a realistic budget and return on investment to the stakeholders.
Anticipate the obstacles such as "it will take too long" or "it is too much money". Be prepared to provide answers to these in your planning stage. Show the alternative if the project does not move forward such as what is the cost of not doing this project.
When it comes to making money are customers, growth, cash, margin, and return on assets. Building a business project plan to present to the executive team requires a solid understanding of business acumen. True business acumen requires a solid understanding of all money making building blocks. Take the time to do your research.
Wrap It Up
Be confident and assertive in all your written, visual and verbal communications. Answer all questions and do more homework if necessary to provide all the information requested. Welcome all feedback and suggestions openly and thank them for it. This will go a long way instead of being defensive or justifying your position.
How are you being persuasive to plan your business projects?