If you are part of a profession or area of an organisation that is or is at least perceived to be complex, it can be challenging when it comes to presenting information. For example, when I worked in accountancy, there was a perception that it was really complex and in some cases people had a phobia when it comes to numbers. So what are some of the golden rules when it comes to presenting technically complex information?
Golden Rule 1: Think first about the about the audience
Chances are you will have some people who are pretty comfortable and complex receiving presentations from people in your area. When thinking about the audience, consider what it is they definitely need to know as opposed to the stuff that would be nice to know. When dealing with complex stuff I generally have found that the more you focus on the key stuff the less likely you are to lose people.
Golden Rule 2: Think about something similar that people can relate to
I generally found that if you can relate the thing you are presenting to something that people can relate to then it becomes much easier. I can recall when working in the NHS I had to explain a new funding system called payment by results. Essentially you were paid for the work you did and coded. I used the example of scanning your shopping to illustrate the similarity with coding. If the item does not get scanned the seller does not collect the money.
Golden Rule 3: Keep it jargon free
We all tend to get caught up in the jargon that goes with our particular area. If you are going to use technical terms then make sure you explain them but ideally avoid them all together.
Golden Rule 4: Focus on the key messages
People can only handle so much at any one time so focus on getting your key messages across. If for regulatory or other reasons you need to make people aware of certain things give them a handout and make reference to it in your presentation.
Golden Rule 5: Check understanding and leave plenty of time for questions
With complex stuff less is better than more. At the end make sure that people have understood and build in more time for people to ask their questions.
What other Golden Rules would you add to the list?
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps accountants and health professionals to become highly effective managers and leaders. For more information click here
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.