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The Four ‘Ps’ of a Successful Business Presentation

By: Art Samansky

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Among the phrases that likely send shivers down the spines of many young CPAs is, “next week, you’ll have to make the presentation.” Rather than embracing the opportunity, too many CPAs dread the thought of delivering a presentation in front of a room full of eager listeners. Although there are many steps to making a successful business presentation, at the core are four “Ps”:

Preparation includes understanding the knowledge level of the audience and what it is expecting; getting key messages down to succinct sentences or phrases; knowing the venue, format, and the scheduled time-allotment; and, in the new environment of remote-casting, knowing how to share the screen and use the virtual whiteboard.

Practice requires a speaker to internalize the presentation so it can be delivered effortlessly and confidently. Don’t memorize it—that could make the talk come across as inauthentic, and if you forget one word or phrase, the presentation may come apart as you frantically search your mind.

Pronunciation flows from practice. Can you say all the words and phrases easily and clearly, or do you stumble? As you practice, make changes as necessary. Speak in breath-length sentences; if you mumble, struggle to complete a phrase, or swallow words, your messages will be lost.

Performance closes the loop. Use simple language. Using complex words may force the audience to focus on deciphering the meanings, and miss your point. Adjust voice tone and speaking speed to underscore points. Skip jargon and acronyms, as not everyone will understand them. When using jargon is essential, explain the meaning first. Hold the jokes—they can easily backfire. End strong, with a short overarching takeaway message: What do you want the audience to do and/or remember? In short, what you say and how you say it makes the presentation meaningful and memorable.


Art Samansky is a principal at the Samansky Group and an adjunct instructor in the school of business at SUNY College at Old Westbury.

Company The CPA Journal
Intended Audience CPA - small firm
CPA - medium firm
CPA - large firm
Published Date 05/09/2022

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The CPA Journal

The CPA Journal is known as the “Voice of the Profession,” and is The New York State Society of CPA’s monthly flagship publication and top member resource. An award-winning magazine and finalist for excellence in journalism (2018, 2017 FOLIO magazine awards), The Journal has over 95% nationally focused content written by thought leaders in the accounting and finance industry.

For more than 85 years, The CPA Journal has been earning its reputation as an objective, critical source of information on issues of interest to CPAs. The Journal provides analysis, perspective, and debate on the issues that affect the CPA profession. Major topics include accounting and auditing, taxation, personal financial planning, finance, technology, and professional ethics. The CPA Journal is issued monthly in print, and offers daily insight and analysis digitally here on Published by the New York State Society of CPAs, The Journal’s active editorial and review process ensures thorough technical quality and material relevant to CPAs in public practice, industry, government and education.