How finance directors can improve their presentations?

September 26th 2019 | Posted by phil scott

How finance directors can improve their presentations?

How finance directors can improve their presentations?

Data, if not presented correctly, can quickly become a mixture of boredom and meaningless spreadsheets in a recipient’s brain.

That’s why, for finance directors, expressing ideas and visions articulately is so important.

Whether they are conducting presentations aimed at business partners or presentations for potential shareholders and stakeholders; top financial directors have impeccable communication skills.

So how do the most effective finance directors make pie charts and numbers interesting for their audience or key stakeholders? How do they keep their audience members captivated throughout the course of their ‘boring’ financial presentation? Here are some ways they do it.

1. Tell the story behind the data

If there’s one way to make facts and figures sound interesting, its through storytelling. Top finance director talk about all of their data and stats in one go, and come up with a story behind the data they’re displaying.

While planning for presentations, the most effective finance directors keep their audience’s perspective in mind. They won’t want to drag on for too long with analytics, but at the same time, get the point across to them.

The easiest way to add an element of storytelling to the data is to provide context. The best finance directors don’t have to be the next J.K Rowling to tell the audience where they get their data from, and what it could mean for their organisations.

2. Rid presentations of any distractions

In modern times that we live in, there’s no escaping from the constant distractions that surround us. Top finance directors know how to minimise these distractions as much as possible.

A common mistake made quite frequently is when the presenter offers the audience a handout or takeaway before the actual presentation. The common perception is that this enables the audience to catch up with what’s about to come. On the contrary, audience members tend to tune the speaker out and focus on what’s in front of them instead.

While crafting a presentation, the best finance directors know that the main event should be the commentary, rather than fancy handouts.

3. Numbers to keep in mind: the 10-20-30 rule

We’ve all been at presentations that seem to drag on for an unusually long amount of time, with poorly-made PowerPoint presentations. The only impact that these presentations have on the audience members is exhaustion.

To avoid presentations from dragging on till eternity, many of the best finance directors follow Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule- ten slides – twenty minutes and a thirty point font. Sticking to this formula will make sure that presentations are short, and gets to the point immediately.

4. Visualise the data

In spite of storytelling techniques, too much data will eventually lead to boredom. To avoid this, top finance directors visualise as much as their data as possible.

Graphic representations of numbers, facts and figures communicate directly to the audience, and they are more likely to remember it. They use data visualisation tools to aid in representing data.

5. Engage the audience

Perhaps the oldest trick in the book – engaging audience members. Instead of talking AT them, the most effective finance directors talk TO them.

More often than not, however, this is easier said than done. To ensure that the structure of their presentation remains consistent, they host a discussion at the end to communicate directly with their audience.

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