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The ugly truth is you’re probably talking too much in your presentations.

I know that’s not the stereotype of an accountant but hear me out.

Many presenters fall into the trap of thinking that the only way their audience will understand anything is if they explain everything. I think this may be especially true in financial presentations. When you work in finance you know all the details and nuances and want to include them to make sure everything is 100% correct.

End result: you say too much and the audience remembers none of it.

Your audience doesn’t want all the details. They live and work in a different space from you and don’t need to know everything about the money. That’s your job, not theirs.

What the audience needs to know from you is what your message is and why it is (should be) important to them.

Your focus when preparing a presentation is to edit and simplify what you want to say. If you research/preparation phase yields masses of data, then do the audience a favour and pick out the most important messages from the data.

I’ve said this before: it’s not the accountant who has all the data who will get promoted, it’s the one who has the insight about what the data means. The same thing goes in presentations. If you slam your audience with a masses of data, with slide after slide of tables and charts, they might think you’re knowledgeable. If, instead, you explain what you have learned from the data, you will be seen as someone who add value.

And if you can do that in a ten-minute presentation rather than a 30-minute one, no-one is going to complain.

Gary Bandy Limited is a company registered in Cardiff, number 5660437.

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