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Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You: Painting with Numbers by Randall Bolten

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INTRODUCTION

This Book is Not About Numbers—Honest!

The way you present says a lot about the way you think.

—Irwin Federman, venture capitalist

This book is not about numbers. This book is about presenting numbers, and doing it clearly, concisely, elegantly, and, most of all, effectively. This distinction between numbers and presenting numbers is critical, and to give you a glimpse of what's to come, let me ask you some questions. When doing quantation,1 have you ever experienced the following:

  • Your audience simply didn't “get it”?
  • You spent too much time just explaining how to read and understand your tables, charts, or slides, instead of discussing the actual contents of your reports?
  • You depended on people to read your materials before the meeting or presentation, and when they didn't do it, you couldn't achieve what you wanted?
  • You caught some dumb mistakes, but only after it was too late to fix them? Or even worse, your audience caught your dumb mistakes?
  • Your report/presentation had too much detail for your audience to zero in on the really important stuff? Or even worse, they simply gave up trying to understand?

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you've felt the agony and frustration of poor quantation. If you've been one of the “victims” in the audience,2 then you've known the sinking feeling of watching a presenter's time and credibility painfully slip away.

Being “Literate”

Presenting numbers is the same as presenting any other information. If your ...

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