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

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

by Randall Bolten
     
 

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Learn how to communicate better with numbers

Whether you are distributing a report or giving a presentation, you have a lot of numbers to present and only a few minutes to get your point across. Your audience is busy and has a short attention span. Don't let an amateur presentation bog you down, confuse your audience, and damage your credibility. Instead,

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Overview

Learn how to communicate better with numbers

Whether you are distributing a report or giving a presentation, you have a lot of numbers to present and only a few minutes to get your point across. Your audience is busy and has a short attention span. Don't let an amateur presentation bog you down, confuse your audience, and damage your credibility. Instead, learn how to present numerical information effectively—in the same way you learned how to speak or write. With Painting with Numbers, you'll discover how to present numbers clearly and effectively so your ideas and your presentation shine.

  • Use the Arabic numeral system to your advantage master the use of layout and visual effects to communicate powerfully
  • Understand how audiences process your information and how that affects your "personal brand image"
  • Learn how to be perceived as a professional who truly understands the business concepts and issues underlying your numbers
  • Use software tools, including Excel, PowerPoint, and graphs, efficiently and to drive home your point

Author Randall Bolten shares his decades of experience as a senior finance executive distilling complicated information into clear presentations, to help you make your numerical information more comprehensible, meaningful, and accessible. Painting with Numbers is brimming with hands-on advice, techniques, tools, rules, and guidelines for producing clear, attractive, and effective quantation (the word the author has coined for the skill of presenting numbers).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Painting with Numbers does an excellent job of covering all the topics that go into effectively communicating with numbers. Bolten’s style of writing is engaging, entertaining, and, most important, effective at delivering his message. This book hasn’t only become a key reference on my bookshelf, but I also now have a comprehensive, textbook-style reference to use when I mentor others on communicating effectively with numbers." (Bill Boehman, CMA, CPA, Strategic Finance Magazine, January 2013)

"There actually are quite a lot of annoying things that accountants and analysts do with spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. By the time I finished the first section of the book, I had thought of five or six experienced accountants at clients or companies I am investigating to whom I would like to give this book." (The Value Examiner, Sept/Oct 2012)

"If you're doing investment pitches, you should read this book. If you're doing a pitch I'm going to see, I want you to have read this book. And if you're a startup CFO, finance lead, bean counter, or presentation slide deck preparer, then you should read this book." (Gust.com, June 2012)

"Do you want to tell a story with numbers? If so, I recommend you run, don't walk, to buy this book." (Life Insurance Selling Magazine, June 2012)

Praise for Painting with Numbers

FROM REVIEWS:

"I highly recommend the very accessible and process based book Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You by Randall Bolten, to anyone in business, public policy making, analysis, science, or any occupation or profession who works with numbers and must present that data to an audience. This book will improve your numeric and overall presentation skills, boost your career, and create a more successful business."
Wayne Hurlbert, Blog Business World

"Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You [is] a book that will help you overcome the stigma of presenting numbers and allow you to give more effective presentations involving numbers.... For those in the financial world, Bolten's book is perfect if you're looking to give more successful presentations. It's as simple as that. You will be doing yourself – and your career – a huge favor."
David Domzalski, FinancialBin.com

"Painting with Numbers, by Randall Bolten [is] the best book I've seen on how to present numbers with skill. Randall was a CFO for twenty years in Silicon Valley, so he's got the benefit of seeing all the various ways, shapes, and sizes that people throw numbers around.  He's exactly the right person to learn from when it comes to seeing through the numbers, knowing what they mean, and knowing how to present them more effectively to speak the truth, and to make better decisions ... in work and in life.

It's a book I'm going to recommend to the people I mentor to help them advance their careers and take their game to the next level."
J.D. Meier, MSDN Blogs

FROM SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS:

"I've seen Randy Bolten's presentation about his book, Painting with Numbers(Wiley 2012) twice. Randy focuses on communicating numerical data. As a former CFO in the semiconductor industry, he has faced many a room full of high-level executives, and he has seen many a financial presentation — some clear, many not so clear. His precepts are down-to-earth tips that anyone can learn to use. Simple, but not trivial. They fit into the half-hour between generating the numbers and publishing the report."
Richard Mateosian, STC Fellow (Society for Technical Communication)

"Randall's relaxed and personable presentation style made it easy to connect with the audience. He brought the definition of "quantation" to life with useful examples of how we, as professional communicators, can more clearly present financial information. I've seen enough bad presentations in my career to know that this information will be helpful to many."
David Gennarelli, Director, Investor Relations, Autodesk, Inc., and President, SF chapter of NIRI (National Investor Relations Institute)

"Great presentation! Randall is an engaging and hugely knowledgeable speaker, who gave us a much-needed wake-up call about the importance of mastering financial communication. Not only was it useful, but thanks to Randall's humor and warmth, everyone enjoyed the ride. I highly recommend him!"
Rikke Jorgensen, VP Programs & Professional Development, International Association of Business Communicators, San Francisco chapter

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781118239964
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
02/13/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
File size:
6 MB

What People are saying about this

Duncan Niederauer
In today's information age, the challenge facing public company executives to ensure their messages are heard by customers and investors has never been more poignant. Painting with Numbers lays out a practical guide to helping business leaders cut through all the noise and communicate crisply and clearly with the audiences that matter.

—Duncan Niederauer, CEO, NYSE Euronext

Eric Keller
Randall's book teaches what I have long believed—a key objective of finance is to provide timely, accurate, and understandable information that leads to better decisions. This is a challenge for organizations of all sizes—from very early-stage ventures to large public companies."
—Eric Keller, Chief Operating Officer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Joshua Bolten
Government policymakers need to do a much better job of communicating clearly with data, especially when it comes to our increasingly alarming federal fiscal situation. Painting with Numbers can help them do just that. Not only do I wish this book had been around when I was Budget Director, but I'm now prepared to drop my claim that my brother was adopted.
—Joshua Bolten, former White House Chief of Staff and Director, Office of Management and Budget

Dr. Tom Campbell
I feel strongly that clearly and honestly presented data is essential to an informed electorate, and Randall made it possible for me to put that belief into practice. I'm delighted that a book like Painting with Numbers is available. I am confident that the lessons Randall Bolten sets forth in this book, a first of its kind, will have a hugely positive effect on the level of public debate and, thus, the quality of the choices we make in our public and private lives.
—From the Foreword by Dr. Tom Campbell, Dean, Chapman University School of Law; former Dean, U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business; five-term U.S. Congressman; Professor of Law, Stanford University; and PhD in economics (University of Chicago)
Harry Kellogg
This is a book that badly needed to be written, so it's about time! I hope that it's read by not just financial people, but by entrepreneurs and C-suite executives as well. The book is both intellectually challenging and downright practical, and will shape the thinking of entrepreneurs and seasoned veterans who need to communicate numbers for business success.
—Harry Kellogg, Vice Chairman, Silicon Valley Bank

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Meet the Author

RANDALL BOLTEN operates a consulting practice focused on financial management and information presentation. He is a seasoned and accomplished finance executive, with thirty years of experience in high-growth and high-potential Silicon Valley companies. His professional passion is presenting information that can enable managers, investors, and the general public to make real sense of complicated situations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and an MBA from Stanford University.

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