Assistant Professor Lehman College
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Four Techniques to Make Your Accounting Presentations Buzzworthy

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Apr 9th 2015
Assistant Professor Lehman College
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In a business environment increasingly dominated by interactive data, streaming video, and dynamic content, the ability to leverage these technologies is critical. Simply being aware of – or being able to use – technology, however, is not enough. Business professionals, including accountants, must be able to effectively communicate and present both quantitative and qualitative information.

If you cannot effectively communicate to your audience, no matter how talented or skilled you are, how will management, clients, or other professionals be aware of the value you can bring to the organization? More specifically, how will these same groups be aware of the value you bring every day? Obviously, the ability to communicate effectively is integral to business success, but one form of communication is of particular importance in the current business environment – presentations.

Presentations are the cornerstone of every single business, but they take different forms depending on the specific industry or market in question. Earth-moving firms need to demonstrate the effectiveness and durability of equipment, pharmaceutical companies need to be able to succinctly (and in language nonexperts can understand) communicate the benefits of new drugs, and service firms need to be able to convey the value delivered by using products and services championed by employees of the firm. These concepts even apply to status updates, training sessions, or corporate road shows debuting new ideas or strategies.

Obviously, presentations have to contain the relevant technical, scientific, or qualitative data that the audience is looking for – most people are able to see through presentations that are all fluff. There is, however, an important aspect that cannot be omitted, and that is panache. A balance is necessary to both deliver the necessary information or message to the audience while also keeping the audience engaged, interested, and looking for more. In essence, in addition to the technical information or specifications that are the cornerstone of your presentation, you must be able to effectively engage the audience.

Let's take a look at four techniques that can help you and your presentation be engaging and interesting.

1. Leave it uncluttered. One of the worst ways to run a presentation is to have a PowerPoint presentation that consists of slide after slide of text. Your audience can read; the point of the presentation is to explain, convey, and answer questions regarding the information. Keep text to a minimum, perhaps bullet points, and elaborate on those verbally.

2. Cut down on jargon. Do not bury your audience with acronyms, industry-specific terminology, or technical terminology when plainer language will suffice. If your audience is unsure of what you are saying, or is overwhelmed by technical terminology, how can they understand you?

3. Keep it short. Get to the point, provide examples, dedicate enough time for questions and answers, and maintain a relatively quick pace. Nobody likes sitting through a long presentation dominated by the speaker; make it interactive.

4. Provide action steps. There are few things more discouraging than sitting through a presentation, hearing a presentation, or reading through a press release and having nothing to “take away” from it. That is, there are no action steps, or things that can be taken away from the presentation and implemented immediately.

Presentations are partially about what is delivered and partially about how you deliver it, so it is important to make sure that the style of delivery you choose meshes well with your message. Accounting professionals, increasingly involved in broader aspects of business decision making, are making more and more presentations. Being able to do so effectively is a necessary business skill.

About the author:
Sean Stein Smith, CPA, CGMA, CMA, has written for a variety of publications. He is a doctoral candidate at Capella University, as well as adjunct faculty at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He works for United Water/Suez Environment as a senior accountant, and may be reached at [email protected].

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By Reuben Richard
Jun 26th 2015 01:12

Very useful tips for accountants in bulgaria for making their presentations buzzworthy.

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