4 steps to use story to elevate your voice

Ready to rule the world? Snag our Financial STORYTELLING framework

empowered women empower women. are you in? Let's go!

3 Ways to Deliver a Better Finance Presentation

Why are most finance and accounting professionals so dry?

I don’t mean to offend anyone because I myself am a finance and accounting professional, but it’s a hard truth I feel like we all need to face.

I attended a webinar today not because I was truly interested in the topic, but because I needed the CPEs. Don’t judge… It’s getting pretty close to the end of the year. So already, I was in the frame of mind to listen enough to receive the CPEs and finish the adjustments to the sales forecast I was working on prior to joining the webinar. So to their credit, I was already only listening with one ear.

5 minutes into the webinar, I couldn’t help but ask….why are all finance and accounting professionals so dry? I couldn’t help but think, if there was just a little bit of energy added into their voice it would make a world of difference and maybe I would be more engaged. It wasn’t even the words that they were saying were all that dry. But it was the energy in which it was communicated. Or lack of energy. 

So I wanted to think through why this is and maybe change a few ways you choose to show up the next time you are asked to present on a finance or accounting topic.

But first, I think we need to let go of the expectation that accounting and finance topics need to be dry.  

I am not exactly sure when and where this stigma was first established but it’s definitely there. It was a long time ago but I remember being called a bean counter more than once when I first entered the accounting field by some friends that chose a different route. Were you?

I believe we were told a long time ago that everyone is either a right brained person or a left brained person and if you are right brained, meaning you are creative and love art then you aren’t that grounded, analytical, logical or good at math. But that can’t be true because I am definitely both. I have two degrees in accounting and finance but I also have a degree in interior design. 

So if we believe that all accountants are left brained and lack creativity then of course it makes sense that the expectation is that we are also more dry. But that is an inaccurate expectation and one we need to let go of.  Just because people expect you to be dry does not mean you have to be.

Awesome, now that that’s out of the way. Here are three super simple ways you can bring more energy into your next finance presentation.

  1. Use more stories. We don’t have to get into all the scientific reasons why stories are so much more effective at engaging listeners than numbers and data because we experience it every day in our own lives. We would much rather sit around the dinner table and share stories than sit around sharing statistics. And it doesn’t have to be an epic story, just a simple story pulled from your everyday experiences. 

Here’s an example. Instead of sharing that revenue went up by 5% month over month due to strong sales, next time try sharing a story and better yet sharing a story that makes someone else look good. You could say instead, last month, Krista in sales built a great relationship with a prospect and decided to unexpectedly Uber eats her lunch when she mentioned that she had to skip it due to her busy day. Krista ended up closing that client and that one close contributed $125k of the $2.5m revenue gain that pushed our revenues up 5% MoM. And then challenge them in ways to think more like Krista.

2. Make sure there is inflection in your voice and you actually raise the volume of your voice. Your voice will be naturally energized if you are sharing stories rather than numbers or process, but it doesn’t hurt to be intentional here regardless. Always always speak up. When in doubt raise up the volume. There is nothing worse than straining to hear what the other person is saying and it is often interpreted as lack of conviction. These days when all our meetings are over zoom, the volume of your voice needs to be cranked up even more.

And please please do not speak in monotones. Even if you have said the same information over and over or you’ve given this same presentation many times before, make sure you stay aware of the tone of your voice. If you catch yourself going into autopilot start to visualize the words you are saying. If you are sharing a story, picture who was there, relive the story if you were there. Or if you are sharing a process, picture yourself completing each step. This will help you get more intentional with your words and keep yourself out of the pit of a monotone voice.

3. And finally, I am a huge fan of power posing. If you’ve heard of Amy Cuddy and her research or checked out her incredibly popular TedTalk she shares the power of our bodies and its ability to influence our brains. Basically if you put your body into positions of power it tells your brain that you are powerful and you come across more confident and bold. Before every major presentation, I try to power pose for a few minutes. A few minutes is all it takes. Why not give it a try? 

Remember, you are capable of not just conducting amazing financial analyses and producing incredibly accurate financial reports, but you are limiting your effectiveness if you aren’t communicating them well.

August 4, 2022

tell me more

Ready to take your financial storytelling skills up a notch? Check out our course!

Privacy Policy  |  Terms & Conditions

From Cookieprenuer to a C-Suite Financial Executive, Liz knows that living outside the box is possible and wants to empower others to know they can do the same.

Financial Executive. coach. Female leader + AAPI Encourager.