You can never learn too much about how to give an effective presentation, especially about weighty topics such as investment management. That’s why I logged into “Presentation Skills for Investment Professionals,” a recent presentation to the CFA Institute by Dave Underhill of Underhill Training & Development.
Some of Dave’s advice resonated with advice I give my writing students. For example, don’t get deep into details before you tell your audience the value of what you’re discussing.
“Take a tsunami of data and boil it down to most important point,” said Dave. It’s a mixed metaphor, but I love his point. Look at the data and pretend you’re an audience member asking “So what? Why should I care about this?”
This is a topic I’ve addressed in “Focus on benefits, not features, in your marketing.” As I say in my writing workshops, your audience is looking for the WIIFM, which is short for “What’s In It For Me.”
Leave time for questions
Don’t make your presentations too long. Allow time for questions, suggested Dave.
Figure that one PowerPoint slide will 60-90 seconds to discuss. For goodness sakes, don’t READ your slides, as I did when I first started speaking in public.
Show, don’t just tell
Among the techniques that Dave uses to improve the power of his presentations are:
- Telling a story
- Using numbers, not just words — I suggest you use a graph, rather than a simple table, if your data lends itself to a more visually appealing display
- Using gestures to demonstrate your ideas
Go the extra mile
I was very touched that Dave took the time to email an answer to the question I’d sent in. It was a question without broad audience appeal, but he answered anyhow. That’s a classy thing to do.
To learn more of Dave’s tips, register to watch the replay of “Presentations Skills for Investment Professionals.”