·We also received a passionate response from Neal Colby, of the CPA firm of Cohen & Company.Neal
took issue with this statement in my last issue:
·The accounting firm "culture" - made famous by Andersen - is to pay cash to settle suits while resisting legislative change that would alter the way they do business.Andersen and other accounting firms have paid millions in damages but continue to use the same accounting methods that will bring about other mini-Enrons.>> ·Rather than respond directly to the content of the posting, I contacted Neal
and asked him if I could critique portions of his
"presentation" in this column and suggest how he
could have made it even more effective.Neal
kindly gave me permission to use his
letter as a teaching tool for all of us.
·You will notice initially that I called Neal's response a "presentation."Certainly, it is NOT a presentation in the usual sense.But this column continually reinforces the fundamental position that every time you communicate to any size group, you are making a "presentation."When you apply "presentation" tools to both your written and verbal communications, you will greatly improve the readability and "listen-ability" of your final product.
·Neal begins his
response by stating, "Let me take a minute to defend most of my brethren in the accounting industry.
But is there a better way for Neal
to defend his
position?Let's first ask the question: "Who is his
is writing for an internal audience of CPA's, his
first paragraph does appeal to that interest group.But since he
sent the posting to me for publication, his
audience is a broad group of decision-makers outside of the CPA profession.A simple question that Neal
should ask - and YOU should ask as you prepare your presentations - is: "Who Cares?"In other words, do the readers of this column really care that members of the accounting industry are hard working and do "good things" for clients?Probably not.Plus, Neal's opening statement is somewhat defensive and may turn off some readers.
·As you prepare any presentation - written or verbal - be honest with yourself.
·By asking these simple questions, Neal
now connects more readily with YOUR interests and perceptions, rather than satisfying his
·Knowing your audience by asking these simple questions is easy . . . but it's also hard.You must have these questions utmost in your mind when you prepare a presentation or you will revert to old habits.
·And, besides, it's fun.When I work with executives on their presentations and ask, "Who cares?"- the answer is typically - "Just me," followed by laughter.
, for allowing me to use your email response as an example of how to make a good "presentation" even more effective.
Send me your elevator speech - short snappy responses to the question, "What do you do for a living?"