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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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Michelle Elstein Head of Business Development, Olswang LLP


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Gerry Bastable  Director, Blast Films