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Why are so many good accountants bad public speakers?

December 30, 2009

Why are some people good at presenting numbers on a piece of paper, but bad at getting the message across when speaking in public?

Having coached scores of CFOs over the years, I have come to the conclusion it is because of their rigorous accountancy training.  In fact, there is a clear conflict between the principles that make a good accountant, and those that make a good presenter.

When you apply the principles that make a good accountant – complete honesty, caution, conservatism – to the process of putting together a good presentation, the result is often a series of unclear and confused messages.

How can this problem be overcome?

It’s a process of re-education.  Fortunately, the skills needed to become a good presenter can be easily learned.  Typically, when one of our coaches works with a CFO, it takes between 4 and 6 hours together to turn them into an impressive presenter.

First, there is a period of realisation – which we achieve with video playback.  We do a presentation audit – to identify where skills need polishing.  Then we show techniques for presenting effectively.  Finally we coach techniques to improve each aspect of the presentation.

It rarely takes more than a few hours to turn even the most reluctant CFO into a compelling presenter.


Do you want to become a better presenter?  Learn more below.

> Presenting for accountants


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Review our top coaching, advice and training programmes. All these are in-house and tailored training programmes. (Not ‘open’ training courses.)

1. Improve Your Investor Pitch

2. Public Speaking Coaching

3. Presentation Coaching

4. Media Training

All can be run as 1:1 or small group training in-house, or via Skype.
Start today to strengthen your leadership and communication skills

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What Our Clients Say

“The new presentation properly represents the institutional quality of our fund. It has been a step change of us.”

Erwin de Kleijn Head of IR, Saemor Capital

“This training has contributed directly to new business – including a new FTSE100 client.”

Michelle Elstein Head of Business Development, Olswang LLP

“BBA transformed our pitch into a compelling investment narrative. They undoubtedly helped us secure Sky TV as an investor.”

Gerry Bastable  Director, Blast Films