We all know that it’s challenging to put together a financial presentation that’s easy to follow and entertaining at the same time. Numbers aren’t everyone’s ballgame and putting together a presentation that will wow your audience while getting your point across can fill even the most skilled professionals with dread.
Instead of making a presentation where people feel like they’re in that meeting being held captive, find exciting and engaging ways to get your audience to pay attention to what you’re talking about with these easy steps.
1. Establish your credibility
Whether at the beginning or end of your presentation, establishing credibility is just as important as presenting the numbers accurately. People need to know that you know what you’re talking about, or they won’t take you seriously. Starting or ending with your credentials, work experience, or anything else that will give them a reference for your expertise in the field will lend credence to your presentation and make it hold that much more weight regarding data presented.
Establishing your credibility by acting and speaking like a pro will also help in your presentation skills. Making sure you are presenting not only the data, but yourself professionally, speaks to your credibility as a go-to source in the field and as an asset to the company you are representing.
Confidence will sell any story. However, if you’re feeling less than confident in your presentation- giving skills, just remember that data is rarely wrong, and your audience is there for a reason. You were asked to do this presentation because someone had faith in you.
2. Tell a story they will listen to
Numbers are raw data that bore most people if they’re “not into” this type of data. Finding engaging ways to get them to listen will be something you’ll need to do, and telling a story will help get them to sit up and listen. Instead of just talking about the numbers and how they affect the business plan, go into things a bit more and talk about where those numbers are coming from.
Critical and analytical thinking is part of a skill set that every good financial professional must possess, so put them to good use while presenting the data. Emphasize with your audience just how important an understanding of this data is and why it’s crucial. Talk about how those numbers influence where you are and where you’re going, not just about where you stand now.
Make sure that your presentation isn’t too long. The typical attention span for most people in a presentation is about 20-30 minutes. Try to keep your presentation within that time, not including fielding any questions or receiving feedback. Your audience will appreciate that and feel that you’ve respected their time.
3. Use visuals in your presentation
Humans are visual creatures. Using visuals in your presentation, like using a PowerPoint with templates to get your point across, will help your audience feel more engaged mentally and retain more information. Don’t limit yourself to just using spreadsheets. Use charts, graphs, tables, and other forms of visual media. For example, creating infographics with any branding, design, marketing, or other materials that you may want to highlight in your presentation, will grab and keep their attention.
Make sure you spread these throughout your presentation as this will give your audience a ‘brain break’ in between all the numbers and data and refresh their mind before diving back into more.
4. Don’t make your notes visible
We all know we have them. You will not memorize everything you have to say and be able to recite it from memory when you’re standing in front of a group of people unless you’re a debate champion or someone with an excellent memory. Even then, presentations don’t always go as planned, so you need to be able to think on your feet.
If you’re using a program such as PowerPoint, you should avoid making your notes or bullet points within your presentation visible. You are showing your hand, and you’re giving the audience something to do besides listening to you; and that is reading ahead. In doing this, they’re missing the nuances in your presentation and could miss other important pointers.
5. Use only what’s significant in the data
This can’t be stressed enough. Going into the minor details will probably lose your audience. You need to stick with the relevant and essential data for the presentation. Understandably, you want to be complete, transparent, and upfront and honest going over the numbers, but much of this is better saved for a comprehensive report behind closed doors with the boardroom, and not for a financial presentation to a general audience.
It’s also essential to make sure you’re breaking down any jargon you might have in your presentation to make it accessible to the general audience unless you’re speaking with financial professionals. Clarify any statements you make, speak with confidence, give credible info, and you will be great, whether with a general audience or in the boardroom.
6. Have a conversation about the numbers
Instead of just droning on about the data, engage with people, and talk to them about where it’s coming from and what direction it’s going. This will wake everyone up and keep them interested because they’re actively involved in the presentation and not just a bystander in the room.
Having them talk about it will also help to retain the information better; ask for feedback, and openly discuss ideas with them. Your audience will appreciate this and find the presentation more appealing.
Whether you’re presenting in the boardroom to executives, or to a more general audience, you will need to know how to put together a financial presentation that will grab their attention and keep it. By following these steps, you’ll be able to not only do that, but also, your presentation will have a more lasting impact. Your audience will walk away feeling that they’ve learned something meaningful and worthy of their time.
Dan shares his newfound knowledge with other Android enthusiasts on joyofandroid.com. Dan also enjoys photography and cooking steak.