No PowerPoint slides in the first two minutes
There is no doubt that PowerPoints are beneficial in financial presentations. However, you must understand that it is still your presentation. If it is about sharing the data, facts or numbers with people, you can email them while staying at home. If you take the time to stand up in front of people, it should not be for just going through the numbers or slides of a PowerPoint presentation.
Here is one simple and effective way to use PowerPoint in your presentation. If you have a large amount of data to share with the listeners, with 80 PowerPoint slides, it’s okay. However, to start effectively, leave the screen blank for about the first two minutes or so and talk to the audience. Tell them about the most important things for them in the presentation. Look at them and develop eye contact with the audience, making them feel you are addressing them and have something interesting to share. Don’t be the buttoner to your PowerPoint slide. Speak with your authority that you know what you are talking about. If you had not this PowerPoint, you could talk on it for an hour answering every financial question of the audience.
Add images for the most critical data
If you are giving a financial presentation, you may have many numbers and complex graphs in your PowerPoint. Add one thing to your PowerPoint presentation: try to illustrate your key points with a photo, picture or image. You will still have all the data and numbers but derive some images for the critical points.
For example, suppose sales went down in January due to the harsh weather, which was not expected. In that case, you can add a picture of your store with heavy snow in the parking area and store surroundings, focusing on the idea that it was unusual weather. So, the low sales did not have to do anything with people not liking your company, nor was anything else wrong. The image of the snow covering your store will make the fact more memorable than a chart or numbers that depict low sales in January.
Analyze the PowerPoint slide from the audience’s eye
Beware of the complexity of the slides you are presenting. Suppose you are emailing some PowerPoint presentations or handing them out. In that case, you can have graphs having five, ten or even 20 variables of different color lines so that the audience can study in silence for even ten minutes if they want. But it won’t be easy to understand if you are standing, speaking, and changing the slides where the audience is listening to you and looking at the slide while figuring out what the swirly lines represent. The brain finds it difficult to process information. So, it is not good enough for the data to look perfect in your hands; you must analyze how it will look to the people watching the PowerPoint and listening to you.
Often, the people sitting in the middle and back of the room cannot see the bottom of the slides. They can’t see what you are talking about. Often, the charts with many lines are too fine, small or blurry that people cannot see them on the screen. Sometimes the colors are indistinguishable. If you want an actual test of your PowerPoint slide, project it in the room where you will deliver the presentation and view it from the back of the room. Do not add anything that the audience cannot see; speak about it and provide it as a handout or email them if it is necessary to share all the information.
We all have heard the statement that numbers speak for themselves, but this statement is not valid in every case. This is the problem with many financial presentations. There are numbers after numbers going on and on. You may have a lot of data to represent, but you need to give guidance about what these numbers mean to the audience and what the listeners should do with the data provided. Which numbers are more significant? How a rational person may act when hearing the numbers. Constantly put into context what these numbers represent.
Improve your communication skills
The difference between people ending their careers as CEOs or heads of organizations versus the ones ending on an average status is that successful people have excellent communication skills. Your CEO may select you to represent your company when he trusts you as a great communicator. A person with good data but unable to present it effectively and clearly may not be desirable. So, it is vital to improve your communication skills to have a tremendous financial or any other career.
Critique from others
Rehearse your financial presentation, record yourself speaking and decide how you want to come across; now is the time to take it to the next level. Share it with other people on your team, maybe the head of investor relations, the CEO, or anyone else who has a stake in the presentation and your message. Get feed from them. In many financial presentations, the person presenting the speech focuses on the PowerPoint slides. The PowerPoint slide is not the presentation. You and the words coming out of your mouth are the presentations.
PowerPoint slides are essential to present data in your financial presentation, but you should use them appropriately. Only speak to the audience for the first few minutes without a slide to establish connection and authority. Make slides clear and analyze how they look on the projector to every person sitting in the room at various locations. Constantly keep context with the numbers and data provided in the presentation, helping people understand the figures and what they should do about them. Get feedback from rich minds of your company to refine your financial presentation. Improve your communication skills to excel in your career.