Get press ready!
Chartered accountants working in consulting firms, finance departments and even private outfits are often called upon to make presentations of one form or another. Given that this is an important aspect of life as a CA, one would expect members of the profession to be pretty proficient presenters.
More often than not, audiences are forced to suffer through presentations wherein the presenter knows precious little about operating the equipment or software; makes some inane jokes about not being tech-savvy, mumbles through a blur of garishly designed slides in which the content is barely visible; and, eventually succeeds only in wasting everybody’s time.
To progress in your career as a chartered accountant or financial consultant, it’s essential that you hone your skills in the art of making presentations with confidence and flair, for maximum impact and effectiveness.
On Your Mark, Get Set…
For starters, make the effort to learn the basics of projector operation and adjustment, should you ever require to set up the equipment on your own. Be familiar with your laptop, connection slots and connectors. Make it a point to arrive at the venue well before the scheduled time, so that you can set everything up calmly and test it. When it’s your turn to present, it should take you not more than a couple of seconds and clicks to get off the blocks.
Have you noticed that there are many presenters – even seasoned, senior professionals – who are appallingly inept when it comes to using a microphone? You may have prepared the most dazzling presentation imaginable, but it’s completely worthless if you are inaudible. Proper usage of mikes is perhaps the most neglected aspect of public speaking. So, whenever you get a chance, practice using cordless mikes, podium mikes and clip-on mikes till you get it right.
Tools of the Trade
As any workman knows, the better you are at using the tools of your trade, the greater your chances of spectacular success. It’s no different with presentations. You need to master the tools most frequently used for making professional presentations – such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, or other software your company may use. Go through every single feature of the software, locate free tutorials, take a course, check out presentations made by others on SlideShare.net. This will stand you in good stead throughout your career, no matter what the nature of your job. Even if you do not have to make your own presentations once you move up the pecking order, familiarity with the software enables you to convey to your minions exactly what you want them to do for you.
You can safely make the assumption that your audience knows to read! Thus, there is no point in you reading out verbatim to them what’s written on the slides. In a way, the slides are just cue cards – providing you with an outline on which to elaborate. However, wouldn’t it be just great if you could see more elaborate notes on your laptop, even as the audience is viewing the actual presentation slides on the big screen? Well, PowerPoint offers you just that option! It’s called Presenter View. With this, you can see your speaker notes on your presentation laptop while the audience sees a notes-free slideshow on the big screen. To enable this view in PowerPoint, go to the Slide Show tab, and in the Monitors group, click Use Presenter View and select the appropriate options thereafter. If you need more detailed instructions, they’re available on the Microsoft Office website here. http://bit.ly/fI2Too
Ultimately, however, no matter what features you know, what counts is how you use them. So, in the second part of this article (coming soon), we provide you with some basic guidelines to follow to make every presentation of yours truly presentable.