What Recommendations Do Statisticians Have for Presenting Statistical Findings to Decision-Makers?


    What Recommendations Do Statisticians Have for Presenting Statistical Findings to Decision-Makers?

    When it comes to presenting statistical findings to those who call the shots, a Managing Consultant and CEO advises to 'Tell a Compelling Data Story'. Alongside expert recommendations, we’ve gathered additional answers that provide a full spectrum of strategies for effective communication. From the power of narrative to aligning data with strategic goals, explore a range of insights on presenting statistics to decision-makers.

    • Tell a Compelling Data Story
    • Visualize Trends with Simple Graphs
    • Address Each Decision-Maker's Priorities
    • Present Data with Clear Visuals
    • Emphasize Key Outcomes in Simple Terms
    • Start with an Engaging Overview
    • Lead with Actionable Recommendations
    • Align Statistics with Strategic Goals

    Tell a Compelling Data Story

    When presenting statistical findings to a decision-making panel, one key recommendation is to tell a compelling story with your data. I remember a time when we were presenting market analysis to a client's board. Instead of just dumping a bunch of charts and numbers, we framed the data around a clear narrative.

    We started by highlighting a real customer story that illustrated a key market trend. Then, we showed how the data supported this story, using simple visuals like graphs and infographics to make complex statistics easily understandable. We focused on the implications of the findings—how they directly impacted the business and what actionable steps should be taken.

    By tying the data to a relatable story and focusing on actionable insights, we kept the panel engaged and made the statistical findings more impactful. This approach helps ensure that your message is clear, and memorable, and drives decision-making.

    Niclas Schlopsna
    Niclas SchlopsnaManaging Consultant and CEO, spectup

    Visualize Trends with Simple Graphs

    As the Director of Sales at PanTerra Networks, I often need to present deep data sets in a simple format. Here's a common example.

    Imagine you want to show the board how CAC (Client Acquisition Cost) has changed over the past year. A well-formatted line graph would be ideal for this purpose. The x-axis can represent time (months), while the y-axis can show CAC. This allows the board to easily visualize trends, such as a decrease in CAC over time, indicating an improvement in acquisition efficiency. I can then highlight this trend and explain the potential reasons behind it, like optimized marketing campaigns or a refined sales process. This clarifies the story behind the data and provides actionable insights for future decisions.

    Shawn Boehme
    Shawn BoehmeDirector of Sales, PanTerra Networks

    Address Each Decision-Maker's Priorities

    Above all, know your audience. Most decision-makers love using data to validate business decisions. However, a cross-functional panel will likely have different motivators: IT wants to improve process efficiency; marketing wants to scale the business faster; and procurement wants to reduce costs and eliminate duplication. Statistical findings can have a huge impact on how (and why) a business moves forward, so the key takeaways should address the biggest priority for each decision-maker on the panel.

    Katie Pickard
    Katie PickardFounder and Master Coach, Align+Clear Coaching

    Present Data with Clear Visuals

    To effectively communicate statistical findings, it's advised to present data through clear and concise visual elements, such as charts or graphs, which can swiftly convey the core message. Overwhelming an audience with too much data at once can hinder understanding, so it's pivotal to keep presentations focused and straightforward. By showcasing visualizations that highlight the most significant data points, viewers can quickly grasp the findings.

    Simplifying complex data into digestible visuals can bridge the gap between intricate analysis and strategic decision-making. Consider turning key statistics into compelling visuals now to enhance comprehension and retention.

    Emphasize Key Outcomes in Simple Terms

    Statisticians often suggest emphasizing the key outcomes of statistical analysis while keeping the use of specialized terminology to a minimum. When addressing decision-makers, it's important to directly state the implications of the data, leaving out complex statistical terms that may confuse non-experts. Good communication in this context means translating numbers into clear, impactful statements that resonate with the audience's needs.

    By showing how statistics lead to concrete conclusions, one can foster an environment focused on informed decision-making. Be sure to highlight your findings in simple terms and encourage your audience to reflect on what these mean for their decisions.

    Start with an Engaging Overview

    Starting with an overview allows decision-makers to understand the broader context before diving into the specifics. It is beneficial to present the main findings at the outset to set the stage for a more in-depth discussion. Detailed statistics can then be offered to those who seek to explore the finer points of the analysis, provided the initial summary has captured the audience's attention.

    By sequencing information from the general to the particular, one can craft a narrative that guides listeners through the data in an organized manner. Begin your next presentation with a compelling overview that anchors your audience's understanding.

    Lead with Actionable Recommendations

    It is often recommended to place actionable recommendations at the forefront of any statistical presentation. Doing so ensures that decision-makers quickly grasp the steps that can be taken based on the data provided. By directly linking the statistical analysis to clear suggestions for action, you can capture the attention of your audience and hold it.

    Ensuring that these recommendations are evident and conveyed early in the presentation aligns the discussion with practical outcomes. Lead your statistical briefing with strong, actionable advice to prompt decisive action from your listeners.

    Align Statistics with Strategic Goals

    To ensure that statistical data resonates with decision-makers, it's crucial to tailor the presentation to align with their strategic goals and objectives. By framing the statistics in a way that clearly demonstrates how they help in achieving desired outcomes, the relevance is immediately clear to those making decisions. It becomes easier for decision-makers to appreciate the value of the data when they see a direct connection to their targets.

    This approach helps in focusing the discussion on the utility of the findings, rather than on the findings alone. Aim to link every statistic you present directly to your audience's objectives and inspire them to apply your data in their goal-setting strategies.