With the current finanical crisis upon us, there's going to be plenty of management meetings packed with presenters feeling the heat as they deliver some poor finances. Whilst this is never fun, it is a reality of the job that most people have to face from time to time. So is there any way of presenting bad news, both it terms of the actual presentation and visuals.
Typically, from a 'slide' perspective, I would remind most people that senior managers are more interested in what you have to say, than show. In these situations, it's your capability as a manager that is clearly being tested. Whilst you must account for the numbers (there's no running away from it! And do expect to get verbal rebuts), and highlight some of the issues, it is more important to spend time on the recommedations for implementing key actions.
Slides then, should be kept to the minimum - stick to this type of general flow:
- Key Financial Summary (highlights & Lowlights) - the type of data shown here may depend on whether your a listed company and/or division you're representing.
- Key issues affecting the results
- Key actions and recommendations
- Remember to add in all expected/projected revenues as well as any timelines and deadlines.
- Don't clutter the slide with unneccessary visuals - keep it simple with the numbers.
I also came across a timely article on the CNN website from Anne Fisher, Senior Writer with the article entitled "How to Deliver Bad Financial News". I have also put some of the main points her in this slideshow for you to view.