I think it’s fair to say that quite a few finance professionals struggle with effective communication. This is especially true when they are trying to communicate with people outside of the Finance realm. Sometimes our presentations include so many numbers that you get a headache just by looking at it. All of course with good intentions however if this is true for your presentations then you can forget about ever forming a meaningful connection with non-finance professionals. So, what can you do to remove this barrier between your exciting world of finance and the rest of the people you work with? Here are some tips and examples of how to do it:
- Speak with presentations instead of word documents or long e-mails
- Use story line headings instead of generic titles. This will help guide the audience through your presentation and act as an executive summary
- Speak with graphs instead of tables and take a moment to consider if you prefer (a) or (b)?
- Turn your “big data” Excel sheets into easy to understand dashboards like from (c) to (d)
- Finally, speak in business terms instead of just talking about variances, increases, decreases, percentages etc.
If you follow some of these simple tips your presentations will come to life and you will start to see that even non-finance professionals stop falling asleep during your presentations. You might forge a connection with them and they will stop calling you a bean counter and refer to you as their business partner. One HR professional once told me after one of my presentations that this was the first time she got it when someone from Finance presented. The same thing could happen to you!
I would like to hear some of YOUR stories on how YOU managed to catch the attention of people in the non-finance world!