Finance presentations carry a lot of weight. They can make or break a deal, change company processes or determine the future of the business. These presentations can often get overlooked as boring, uninspiring or complicated. But finance presentations are important for delivering information that can make a business better. If you fall into traps like information overload, mixed messages and failed takeaways, there are solutions. The experts at Financial Executives International (FEI) shared their tips for improvement, which inspired this article. Here are 3 steps to improve your finance presentation.
Finance presentations can easily get too data heavy. Taking worksheets filled with data and dumping it into a chart or graph may save you some time, but it won’t help share the message behind the numbers. FEI says that research shows executives find data-heavy slides “aggravating” and the audience will find them boring.
Instead of the basic pie chart or bar graph, think more critically about what the numbers mean. You can illustrate the meaning with a simplified graphic that is not a data dump. Save all the details for how you got the result for a handout or a takeaway deck. This way, your message comes across directly and your audience can still receive all the information.
A great point that FEI writes about is getting too much into the details. Not all board members or executives need to know the minor details of a process. Instead, your finance presentation should be more of an overview. “Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the enterprise to add true value to the financial presentation.” This is great advice for avoiding too much insignificant information.
One way to help you develop a more focused finance presentation is through a storyboard. Create an outline for the presentation’s main points and key takeaways. Narrow down this information as much as you can until you get a clear and constructed outline, you can begin filling in the rest of the presentation.
Presenting numbers, figures, strengths and weaknesses may come across disjointed without enough context. This boils down to who is your audience. You have to know how to deliver information to people with different roles in the business. Board members, executives, colleagues and clients will all need their finance presentations fine tuned to fit their needs.
In order to achieve this, do some research. Send out a survey before you begin your presentation to find out what your audience wants to know. Have a brainstorming session with your team to work through what information best fits the presentation audience. Taking an extra step in the forefront goes a long way in the end.
For more presentation tips and tricks for finance presentation, check out these posts from the Ethos3 blog:
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