Why Presentation Skills Are Important for Business Analysts

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I’m delighted to be presenting at the upcoming European BA Conference in London on a topic that is dear to my heart; Presentation Skills. This is a topic that would not normally make the top of a Business Analysis playlist mainly because the common perception of a BA’s role is the facilitation, definition and collation of requirements but I personally believe this is a core skill for a BA for a variety of reasons:

David Beckham, Senior Business Analyst, Aviva, david.beckham@aviva.com

David will be speaking at the Business Analysis Conference Europe 2017 on the following subject: Improving Your Presentation Skills


  • Good presentation skills are applicable to one-to-one situations and large groups.
  • Good presentation skills allow the clear communication of facts to an audience
  • Good presentation skills give the ability to persuade
  • Good presentation skills build confidence and effective communication
  • Confidence and effective communication allows authentic leadership

I personally believe the BA is a primary leader of change in an organisation but if they cannot clearly communicate it will be harder to deliver and implement effective change. It will also be harder to motivate and inspire their colleagues, customers and stakeholders to incorporate the change on an ongoing basis. So being able to present to an audience is a very important skill to cultivate, even in this day of webinars and Skype for Business. It is a myth that remote communication means you need not worry about your presentation style; boring is boring either via the web or in person! Just one of the myths regarding presentations that I will attempt to dispel in my workshop. Other myths of note I will tackle include

Doing presentations is for Marketing and/or managers – not by any means! There are numerous times during the Business Analysis working day when you are presenting. A sprint review that you host, a discussion on a requirements approach for your latest assignment or a process model review all give you an audience. Why would you not want to treat them with the same level of presentational rigour?

Great presenters aren’t made they are born – for the most part this is nonsense. Whilst it is true that some individuals appear to be ‘naturals’ at presenting the reality is that people who are known for good presentations have one thing in common; they practice a lot and the things they practice the most are the basics they learned early on. It is a learnable skill.

I get too nervous about presenting so I better avoid it – well, if that’s really how you feel then fine! But nerves like many things can be controlled and reduced using certain techniques and I will cover some of these in my session. Most practiced presenters will say a little amount of nerves are a good thing anyway to help keep you sharp

If my content is good then my delivery doesn’t matter – I’ve seen a lot of content-heavy/style-lite presentations in my time and can fully attest that the above is completely incorrect. I will talk about personal impact and the art of story-telling and show how they are integral to getting audience buy-in.

All you have to do is stand up and talk – You think?! It’s a little more complicated than that and I shall be talking through the things you need to do to really carry off a presentation that’s memorable for your audience. If you think and prepare your material you can develop some tremendous opening lines, a close that remains in the memory and hopefully some STAR moments as well.

Presenting isn’t fun; it’s an ordeal – it doesn’t have to be that way at all. Paradoxically, I am socially quite reserved but when I am presenting I really enjoy it and feel really good. I find myself in a state of ‘flow’ or ‘in the zone’….. I think the trick is to have something to say or a story to tell that you really believe in. It’s never easy presenting material you are not invested in and can certainly make the experience more onerous than it has to be but, if you can find something in the material that you can latch onto and find inspiring you will be able to bring that feeling into your presentation and as a result hopefully inspire your audience in a similar fashion.

I hope this article has gone some way to dispelling some of the myths about presenting and the importance of good presentation skills for a Business Analyst. If it has succeeded and also left you wanting to know more, hopefully I’ll see you at the Conference in September. I will be covering more detail on the topics above plus a lot of other material including The Imaginary Parrot, Abraham Lincoln’s Hat and Barack Obama’s Tri-colons….!

David Beckham has spent his career working at Aviva and has been a Business Analyst in different guises since the mid-90’s. He was a founder member of the Business Analysis Practice when it was formed within Aviva IT and has had two terms as the Practice Lead. He has worked on numerous large change programmes and has been heavily involved in building the capability of Business Analysis within his organisation over the last few years. He has presented at the European BA Conference on a regular basis and has had several articles on Business Analysis topics published through various media. Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2010 at the age of 43 David continues to relish his role as a Business Analyst and is a passionate advocate of the profession and the benefits it gives to organisations everywhere and regularly speaks on the positive power of change both on a professional and personal basis.

Copyright David Beckham, Senior Business Analyst, Aviva

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