The Finance Leader Podcast

059: Perfecting Your Presentation Skills

August 03, 2021 Stephen McLain Season 7 Episode 3
The Finance Leader Podcast
059: Perfecting Your Presentation Skills
Show Notes Transcript

Working on a group project that presents to senior leaders is a great opportunity to show off your skills and get recognized for your potential. Performing your daily duties will not move your career but taking risk by working on a group project can definitely move it along. Ensure you are improving and perfecting your group presentation skills to leave an outstanding impression of your abilities. 

I use the following outline during the episode:

  1. Always know your audience,
  2. Don’t overthink your preparation time,
  3. Your briefing products should all be in synch and make sense,
  4. Ensure the methodology is solid, and
  5. Follow up quickly.

Here is the link to Toastmasters:

I have something for you. Consider joining The Finance Leader Podcast Community Facebook Group, where we can talk leadership and the other topics I present here on the podcast.  This is a good time to jump in and start sharing ideas and thoughts about leadership so we can help each other.

For more resources, please visit On the website, you can download the Leadership Growth Blueprint for Finance and Accounting Managers. You can use this guide to develop your leadership by focusing on communication, and growing and empowering your team.

You can now purchase a course to help you advance your career from It's called Advance Your Finance and Accounting Career: Developing a Promotion Strategy that Sets You Apart.

Please follow me on:

1. Instagram: stephen.mclain
2. Twitter: smclainiii
3. Facebook: stephenmclainconsultant


This week I am talking about perfecting your group presentation skills. Working on a group project presents to senior leaders is a great opportunity to show off your skills and get recognized for your potential. performing your daily duties would not move your career. But taking risk by working on a group project can definitely move it along and share you are improving and perfecting your group presentation skills to leave an outstanding impression of your abilities. Please enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host Stephen McLain. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. This is episode number 59. And now we'll be talking about improving and perfecting your group presentation skills. And I will highlight the following topics. Number one, always know your audience. Number two, don't overthink your preparation time. Number three, your briefing products should all be in sync and make sense. Number four, ensure the methodology is solid. And five follow up quickly. Author Paul J. Meyer said communication the human connection is the key to personal and career success. Are you enjoying season seven, in addition to today's episode, there are also two other episodes in season seven. Episode 57 was about owning your career. And Episode 58 was about building your professional foundation. So if you missed them, please go back and listen to them now. You will not be disappointed this week, I am talking about perfecting your group presentation skills. I'm sure that as a finance and accounting professional, you have participated in many group presentations, where you are showing the numbers or a projection relating to your responsibility area. A presentation is your opportunity to highlight your communication, analytical and leadership skills as part of a group, you have a chance to impress those who could give you additional opportunities that can help your career. Approach every presentation and group project as a door opening to bigger and better things to help achieve your long term goals and share you are prepared and the information you're presenting is value added to the audience you will be speaking to during your presentation. Show confidence. Be mindful of your body language and facial expressions. speak directly to your audience and be ready for feedback. Always follow up quickly and professionally to any questions you can't immediately answer. Be a professional always. By the way, I have a Facebook group called the finance leader podcast community so we can grow our leadership together. This is a relatively new group. So there are not many members right now. But we can get this group started with leadership and career development questions. And we can help each other to grow and be prepared for the next step in our careers as finance and accounting professionals. So please join. The link is in the show notes with this episode. So let's talk about a few key points about perfecting your group presentation skills. And the first thing number one is know your audience. This is always important. know who you will be presenting to. It's important to address the concerns your specific audience may have. But stick specifically to the topic. We will talk about preparation time in a few minutes. When briefing Be confident make eye contact face the audience speak up and ensure that everyone in the room walks away knowing that you know your numbers and your job not overconfident and not lacking in confidence that happy middle spot where you are positively influencing the room. And those who are listening to you are convinced that your numbers are accurate and will help them make better decisions. Always know your audience. know who you are speaking to. You will learn and you will find out who in your audience will ask you specific questions and how much off topic they may go. So no going in who your audience is going to be. And then you can do a little preparation time very specific preparation on being able to answer the questions that your audience will ask number two and this is very important. Don't overthink or over prepare during your preparation time. Do you tend to overthink over plan your work products? You are not alone if you do overthinking and over planning in this sense is when you are not sure what your audience will ask or you lack confidence in what your audience will ask. So you plan for every single contingency, which is really a waste of your time and energy. keep focusing on the key aspects of what you are presenting, you can't plan for everything. You will always have someone in your audience who will ask something off the wall, expect it. You can't plan on it. And don't even waste your time trying to figure out what it will be. Just say you don't know. And we'll get the answer. And then move on. Don't worry about it ever. Keep your energy and focus on a key aspects of your presentation. Know your numbers, know what your numbers mean. And I want you to rehearse your presentation ahead of time. And of course, rehearse some of the questions you may get. And we'll talk about this in a few minutes. But you can address any of the things you may think that may come up in the presentation on the slide, and especially the assumptions that you're used to. But we'll talk about that in a few moments. Number three, the group's briefing products should be in sync and make sense, a great presentation is built on consistency in the messaging. So each person's area should sync with the other areas. In a group presentation, you may have three, four, or maybe even seven or eight people speaking, but each area of the presentation should be in sync and complement each other. The most important aspects of the presentation will be a timeline, any obstacles to implementation, if this is an investment project, and of course, the numbers which means contributing margin, return on investment, and the lifecycle replacement plan for any equipment that must be purchased, rehearsed with your teammates, and try to determine who will weaken during the presentation. This is important, it's possible that someone in your group may not be able to follow through exactly as they have prepared for until you get in the room and start presenting. You will not know how your teammates will react to questions. So do your best before their presentation. To give feedback on flow and how the information is develop. It needs to make sense on how the flow of the information goes. So there's no confusion, which only contributes to a bad outcome. I want you to use your leadership skills in the outcome of how the presentation looks and is developed. And how it speaks to your audience. I want you to speak up when you don't see something right. I want you to speak up because it will reflect on you. Because one of the most important aspects of any group presentation is going to be the numbers you need to ensure that everything is in sync and make sense that someone in another area isn't contradicting what you're going to talk about when you're going to talk about projections or their return on investment, and share you're all synched up. And the messaging is consistent if you're using slides have one point per slide, however, is the finance and accounting team member, we often only get one or two slides. So I'm sure the slides can speak for themselves, which is important. When the read ahead packet goes out prior to the meeting address your planning assumptions. And if you have numbers that could it be out of tolerance or unusual or unexpected. Have a peer review your methodology. And then of correct address it on the slide. Take away objections before you even speak and address obvious objections up front. Again, this is very important. Try to take away as many objections as you can during the presentation. You address them upfront, put them on the slide if you can, and ensure you always point them out. So that takes away any kind of awkward situations during the presentation or other crazy questions that you may get because it will happen. Number four, ensure your methodology is solid. Your organization should have a shared and consistent methodology on how projections are developed, or how financial reporting is done. Financial Reporting should have explanations you must address the assumptions you use in any financial projections and acknowledge on front any issues that will make any audience members second guess your numbers. It's always best to call these out before others do. So ensure your methodology is solid. Use the same methodology that your department is using and ensure you stick to it in anything out of tolerance or anything that you use that's different. Ensure you are addressing it on the slide and addressing in your presentation. So you call it out before someone else calls it out. And finally, ensure you are following up quickly. This is especially important after the presentation. You will have questions or comments. No matter how prepared you are except that no matter what is said show strength and confident resolve. Don't flustered or bothered by a comment, watch your body language and facial expressions and always write down the question that you may get. And also do a follow up with any of your teammates who may have the answer, and then may be able to help you with their response. Additionally, if there are if there are more than one question around your numbers that affect other areas ensure you are synching up with your teammates on a project so you don't get contradicting answers in the follow up. If you do get questions during your presentation that you can't answer, and share, you send the answers as soon as you can. Normally, within 24 hours, the sooner the better. When you follow up in a reasonable amount of time, trust for you will grow and senior leaders will know they can count on you to figure out difficult answers and handle difficult situations. So keep that in mind. Now let's talk about mindset for a moment. If something doesn't go right with the presentation, you have to move on, you have to focus on the next task, or the next requirement. You can't let something negatively affect you. After the presentation, take a break, get some air, refocus on positive thoughts. Pull yourself together, focus on the next task at hand. Additionally, when something goes wrong or not as planned, keep your composure you're being watched and judged. Be an act like a leader who can handle a crisis, which means Don't make excuses, don't blame. Just accept what you can control and don't give anyone a reason to negatively judge your ability I've been there, it happens. Maybe someone on your team doesn't follow the plan or they offer you as a sacrifice when the overall presentation goes off a cliff. Again, I've been there. Keep in mind that your reaction must be solid. You can hold others professionally accountable later. But in the room, you have to get through it with your professional reputation intact. So be prepared in case this happens, it will eventually so be strong, be professional, and be a leader who can handle tough situations. So for action today, are you currently on a project team that gets to brief senior leaders. Sometimes, your duty position ensures you already have to brief these projects. But sometimes, the staff accountant or financial analyst with a limited portfolio doesn't get these opportunities. So be on the lookout for projects and get on one to grow your skills and show off what you have. And once you get on a project team give everything you have to highlight who you are as a finance and accounting professional. If you believe you need additional training, sign up for a class on presentations or even better. See if you can join Toastmasters which is an organization that is designed to help you with speaking in public. I'll put a link to Toastmasters in the show notes and maybe you can find a chapter that's near you so you can join. This episode is sponsored by my website finance leader Academy calm and my career development course called advance your career, developing a promotion strategy that will set you apart. To achieve your career goals. You must be willing to take risks to set yourself apart from your peers, finance and accounting professionals are already expected to be technically competent. This course helps you establish your professional Foundation, and how you can set yourself apart from your peers by growing your leadership skills and developing your executive presence. You can go to finance leader Academy comm for more details on this career advancement course The link is also in the show notes for this episode. Thank you. Today I talked about perfecting your group presentation skills, and highlighted the following points. Number one, always know your audience. Number two, don't overthink your preparation time. Number three, your briefing products should all be in sync and make sense. Number four, ensure the methodology is solid. And five. Follow up quickly. Getting on high visibility projects that give you the chance to present to senior leaders in the executive team is exactly what I want you to be doing. You get to grow and show off your skills you get to show off your strong mindset, the ability to collaborate with others, your communication skills and your ability to handle tough situations. Every group project that leads to a positive impact is a career building statement that shows your potential for greater responsibility. Every project you are on is a resume bullet that you can add and highlight what you have accomplished getting on these projects. And these group presentations can be scary for some individuals but staying safe in your everyday duties will not get you recognition, nor will it grow your skills, especially your leadership skills. Next week I will be talking about how to partner with senior leaders to deliver the strategy. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast dedicated to helping you grow your leadership because it is leadership that will set you apart from your peers. You can get this episode wherever you find it. Test. Until next time, you can check out more resources at finance leader and sign up for my updates so you don't miss an episode of the show and now collegiate team and I'll see you next time. Thank you