Accountants and professionals have to master a whole range of skills over and above their core technical skills.
The ability to present is one of the areas that they have to get to grips with.
When people think about presenting they tend to think about standing in front of an audience with slides.
Yet a presentation could simply be to a handful of people. You are more likely to have to present something in a meeting, in a written communication or even one to one.
Having had the opportunity to help hundreds of professionals to become effective presenters, it’s fair to say that the standard varies significantly.
Some seem to be fairly natural, while others find it a huge struggle.
Now my belief is that any professional can become effective at presenting. I use the word effective deliberately.
In reality few professionals need to become outstanding at presenting. What they need to aim for is being good enough to get the result or outcome that they want.
This might seem simple to say but in practice it’s much more difficult to achieve than it would seem.
The good news is that I truly believe if you follow a few basic rules you can be effective and present with confidence.
So what are those basic rules?
Rule 1: Be Clear About the Goal
In my experience people tend to brush over this or don’t even consider. A question to ask yourself is what do you want to happen as a result of your presentation?
Every presentation you deliver should have a clear purpose.
Rule 2: Know Your Audience
Be clear about who is in the audience. Think about their level of expertise. Consider what they really need to know and at what level of detail.
For example the more senior people are the more likely it is they will want the overview rather than the detail.
Rule 3: Create the Right Content
Too much time and too little content is rarely the issue.
Start by creating a long list of content that you could include. Go through that long list and eliminate anything that is not helping you achieve your goal or is not right for the audience.
Remember you can have different versions for different audiences.
Rule 4: Set Yourself Up For Success
Practice and rehearse your presentation several times. Have a routine for managing nerves. Work on your opening and closing. Focus on a few key messages.
Rule 5: Avoid the Perfection Trap
We are all our own biggest critics. Don’t allow the desire to be perfect to stop you from achieving what you want.
Duncan Brodie helps accountants and professionals build their non technical skills and achieve more career success.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 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.