Using the standard list of the seven deadly sins as a guide, here are seven things to avoid when giving a finance presentation.
- Pride. It’s not about you. Your presentation is for your audience and what they want/need should be uppermost in your mind.
- Greed. Stay within your allotted time. This is doubly-true if you are part of a programme because exceeding your share of the time will take it from the other presenters.
- Wrath. Things go wrong with the technology and audience members sometimes ask silly questions. Whatever happens, don’t react angrily. Instead, respond with calm and grace.
- Envy. When you see a good presenter in action don’t be jealous. Recognise that they have learned how to deliver a presentation and you can, too. You just need to practise more.
- Lust. Financial management isn’t sexy so don’t try to sex up your presentations through exaggerated claims. You don’t need to put your evidence into the presentation, but you should have evidence to support what you say.
- Gluttony. Don’t fill every slide to the margins with text, numbers and charts. The audience can’t digest all that information and whilst they are trying to digest it, they are not listening yo you.
- Sloth. I know you’re busy but that’s no excuse for not putting in the preparation time for your presentation, especially the really important ones. Knocking out a few slides of bullet points the day before is not going to lead to a great presentation. As a rule of thumb you might need half a day to prepare a routine 15-minute presentation. An important sales pitch might need a week.