• Alexandra Bond Burnett

A little known tool successful accountants pay close attention to improve influence in presentations

When you present, how often are you thinking about how people are receiving your information?

I always think of communication like swift transactions made and received from individuals. Some land well, others bounce back like bad cheques.

Earlier today I was in a coaching session that sparked one of those brilliant "ah ha!" moments where a door is unlocked in someone's brain. And all it took was the image of a pair of scissors.

Find the presentation method that works

Sticking with the money transfer analogy, when we are sending information to someone in a presentation we often forget to ask ourselves what the most effective method of sending is.

When you send money to someone, or pay a bill, how do you choose the best payment method?

Usually, the cheapest, fasted and most reliable way, right? In other words, the method that will land in the account efficiently and fulfil the transaction successfully.

We all learn information in very different ways, in fact there are four different ways to consider. By considering these when you create and deliver a presentation, you will increase your success of landing the message and have stronger influence your audience.

Everyone thinks differently

We think in different ways, and although most of us process information in the same way, there are actually four different learning preferences, and we all favour one.

Back to my coaching client and the scissors, it became clear how visual they were in their language. When we spoke about "cutting" out ahhs and uums, and rambling before getting to the point, we focused on a pair of scissors actually snipping away the excess words before the present. They now recall a pair of scissors before presenting, which reminds them to only speak words they mean to!


These people really connect to images. They use imagery when they talk and learn a new idea or process when they have a clear picture in their minds. They often think about the look of things and even use visual words in their language such as "show me, imagine, see this".

How to present to them

  • Speak with descriptive words

  • Use imagery for examples

  • Employ strong and creative visuals with data


Easily distracted by noises, and sound - a preference for audible learning is clear when someone repeats and sounds out what they've just heard. Most likely to say "how does that sound?" and picks up on many subtleties of your voice.

  • How to present to them

  • Talk about how things sound

  • Speak clearly in repeatable sentences


The kinesthetic thinker focuses on the way things feel. They learn by feeling and walking their way through situations - which means they may not be big readers but they act on their instinct and often have a good sense, or feel, when making decisions.

How to present to them

  • Give them an item to hold or build that illustrates your point

  • Talk about 'how' things happen

  • Make sure they feel comfortable, physically and with emotions

Auditory Digital

Slight less easy to spot, as they use the other three styles but always gravitate towards a well mapped out procedure. They like to see the steps in a well organised system. They are driven by logic, and often struggle to understand anyone else who isn't.

How to present to them

  • List the steps of how you arrived to your decision

  • Stay fact related, and display data and statistics

  • Give clear evidence and citations on your findings

You may have noticed how you prefer to receive information, or a colleague or client. The more you become aware of these the more you will start to recognise how to influence others with your insights.

You might think that presenting accounting data can only be Auditory Digital, but you'd be wrong.

With powerful data visuals, pictures, speech and tonality you can use images and sound and feeling to connect your ideas strongly to your audience.


Want to be a more connected accountant?

Test your presenting skills by taking my 2 minute skills review. Your report will look at your strengths and give you insights to help you grow your presentation influence.

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