Knowing how to give good presentations is essential to achieving success in your organisation and career. That may not seem apparent if you just started in an entry-level position in a company, and most of the presentations you’ve made thus far were in school. But what you learned in school will help as you advance in an organisation and find yourself making more presentations to broader audiences. CFOs are in great demand as presenters. According to CFO Magazine, ‘CFOs increasingly find themselves confronting eager audiences, as boards, Wall Street, and other constituencies call upon them for greater insight into corporate performance and strategy.’1

This chapter and the one that follows focus on presentations: their purpose, elements and structure, and how to use presentations to communicate effectively. In this chapter, we will discuss how to plan and outline your presentation. The next chapter will focus on designing and delivering slide presentations. Appendix E distils the considerations presented in these two chapters into a convenient checklist form.

So, what is a presentation? Simply put, it’s showing and explaining something to an audience. What you present could be an idea, a solution, a service, a product, a project or something else. The audience could be an individual, such as your boss, a small group, such as members of your team, or hundreds of people.

There are many reasons for presentations, but they can be distilled into ...

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