EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

One of the great challenges we face as financial folks is explaining to non-financial types what we do for a living. And, some of us financial types do things that are so esoteric that we need to work hard to even explain what we do to fellow financial types.

At one time, I was Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency. To be quite honest, the accounting aspects of the job were not all that difficult. For example, we had no international operations and we were initially privately held. That said, what WAS difficult was getting all of those individuals with egos as big as all outdoors to work together to make a profit and preventing them from “burning the place down.” As I like to joke, everyone I worked with on a daily basis was under psychiatric care. And, those who weren’t still needed it, and unfortunately they were in charge.

Those members who put together complicated deals using credit default swaps, derivatives, convertible bonds, preferred stock and who knows what else, also bear a tremendous burden to make comprehensible the incomprehensible. Did I mention that all of this needs to be accomplished in 90 seconds?

The argument is often made that when you get in front of those who are what we call hiring executives, it is all so much easier. They actually do understand and you can have meaningful conversations with THEM. The problem is getting into that chair.

Most of the world is uniformed about the great difficulty required on your part to perform the tasks that you so effortlessly executed. As immersed as we all are in what we do for a living, and we tend to do it for so long, that being able to step back and discuss it intelligently is not all that simple.

The “gatekeepers” in this situation are often people who honestly would like to help. They are friends and associates who know us and like us. Across parts of their lives they have met the very individuals you would like to meet. But, to get them to realize that they know the right people requires you to put into plain English that which you do so well.

Each of us is an individual blessed with many important skills. We are all different. And yet we all have this need to communicate in clear sentences what we do and how we do it so others can repeat it on our behalf and make those invaluable introductions for us.

So, how do you begin? Building an effective 90-second announcement requires a live audience. This is why we have so many chapters around the country. Take advantage of these “off Broadway” play opportunities and give it a go. Practicing in front of a mirror is simply not the same thing.

Until all around you can gain a proper mental image of your capabilities, the “Magic” will remain just that.

Regards, Matt

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