You know how to source data.
You even know how to interpret it.
In other words, you are superb!
But, can you present it effectively?
Many finance professionals focus so much time on learning new knowledge or tools to manipulate the data they are being given. But, they fail miserably in presenting the numbers they have painstakingly crunched.
No data, nor statistical results, is useful if not communicated.
After all, if you are hired as a finance/investment professional, you are not just expected to compute, but also to relay what you had learned from the data.
In the corporate world, most presentations use Microsoft PowerPoint. That’s why if you are looking to improve your presentation skills, you should prioritize learning how to maximize PowerPoint.
So, what makes a powerful PowerPoint presentation?
There are many rules with regards to creating powerful PowerPoint slides. But, there’s one rule that is above them all – the 20-second rule.
It states that however beautiful your slides are, however useful your contents are, if the readers can’t comprehend what is in your slide within 20 seconds, you fail as a presenter.
Why 20 seconds?
Because the average attention span of your audience is only about 20 seconds. Within this time frame, you need to take advantage of your audience’s attention.
The longer the time it takes for them to understand a slide, the harder the concepts become to them. In other words, even if a topic is complex, but in your slides they are comprehendible within 20 seconds, it becomes simpler to the spectators.
So how will your slides pass the 20-second test?
First, limit what are included in your slides. Second, make your slides easy to read. If you are curious as to how to achieve these two, the following section is for you. The next section discusses in detail how you will pass the 20-second test.
Best Practices to Improve Your PowerPoint Slide
1. All texts is boring, use images
Always remember, a PowerPoint presentation is just a guide for the presenter and the audience, and not a book to be read in a meeting. Thus, texts should always be limited. As much as possible, use only the keywords you would like your audience to remember.
And to make the presentation more interesting, use images appropriate for the topic.
Consider the following slide:
Isn’t it boring? Most likely, the speaker will just read these texts… and so is the audience. This will be just a plain presentation.
Let’s make it livelier. Let’s add an image.
Since we are describing a business, why don’t we put a logo of it?
The logo represents the company. By adding a logo, the audience feels more connected to the company. Why? Because the logo will make them feel that the company is real. The opposite is true when you are just describing the business using plain text.
So, that’s the first tip, if you are describing something, it’s better to include an image of that, or maybe just a representation of it, oftentimes a logo.
How about when you are presenting numbers? The best way to represent them is by using labels which will accurately describe those numerical figures.
So, instead of:
Note that since it was an increase, we used an UP arrow. Also, because the increase in expenses is bad, we used red fonts.
There are cases wherein the audience would like to have a hard copy of the presentation. If you used PowerPoint presentation with just images and keywords, the presentation wouldn’t be useful if printed.
Thus, prepare a separate word file which summarizes the whole discussion. You can give this to your participants instead of the PowerPoint presentation. What’s more is that you’ll be able to safeguard the PowerPoint you had painstakingly prepared.
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