Making the Case to Make Your Case – Presenting Data
Step 1 – Consider Your Audience!
If you’re reading this blog post, chances are that communicating data to others in your organization is part of your job description. And truth be told, others in your organization won’t retain your meaningful data points and metrics for future use. So how can you present your data to share insight, recommendations, and successes? Whether it’s the basis for a project pitch to the CEO, getting buy in from the team who will have to manage the project day to day, or communicating the ultimate success story in a webinar or a room of 200 people, you need to make that data tell a story.
The lead-off phase of researching a data presentation is to determine who you’ll tell your story to. This blog series will start with the first step in the process – Consider Your Audience!
Start out by asking yourself the following questions.
- Who is your audience? Do you have more than one? Make a list so that you can adapt your presentation to each group.
- What does each audience need from you? What kind of presentation will help create buy in with your intended audience(s)?
- What information might surprise, worry, entertain, earn pushback, or otherwise create a reaction?
- What are you trying to “sell”? What are the three biggest takeaways for each group? How do you want the audience to respond to your presentation?
Here are some common audiences to consider.
- Executive level management and leadership teams will generally want to see a top line summary, but be sure to bring backup data, pertinent conclusions, and your recommendations.
- Department heads who need to approve the work will have to know how your project will affect their group’s time and resources.
- Team members, who have to execute based on your findings, will need to get comfortable with the details. Bring ALL of your data to this group.
- External groups (live or via webinar) want to see the end result. It should, quite literally, tell the story of your project from beginning to end. Presenting to this group should include your preferred method for slides (PowerPoint, Prezi, Google Slides, etc.) and look sharp.
Now that you’ve considered your audience, read Step 2 – Building Your Case!