Six tips for communicating research

1. Don’t be a scientist
Methodology and data need to be sound but they don’t need to be discussed – especially not with senior decision-makers.
2. Edit furiously
When you’ve done loads of work, have masses of data and taken the client’s money, the temptation is to show as much as you can to justify the fee. But 160-slide PowerPoint decks bury messages. Do 30 instead – and keep the rest for reference.
3. Put the debrief in a context
Learn as much as possible about the client and their situation. And work hard to define the brief as much as possible. Use that information to interpret your insights.
4. Be assertive
With the right context you ought to be able to make recommendations, not just deliver results. Your efforts might be knocked back, but rarely will they not be appreciated.
5. Tailor your messages
There’s a world of difference between a debrief for a research team and for their CEO. And even then, no two research teams have the same priorities.
6. Rehearse, tweak, rehearse
Bold, attention-grabbing presentations of direct assertions can be risky if they’re not slick, confident and accurate. Pare down the detail, then get the pitch just right.

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