Danny Wain’s highly engaging session on Communicating Insight was a great reminder of the many pitfalls a researcher can oh-so-easily encounter when preparing a presentation. Illustrated with amusing, honest anecdotes (such as a debrief of 300+ slides, all of which utterly failed to deliver the answer to the client’s main objective), Danny brought his subject to life admirably.
Useful advice included:
Remember this acronym: MASH (make your debrief Memorable, Actionable, Succinct and Human)
Be really clear on the objectives at the beginning of the project, and again when writing the debrief – if you don’t understand them before you start, you’ll never be able to deliver against them at the end
Include clear directions/ point of view/ actions or next steps whenever possible
Know your audience; understand their needs, background, level of research knowledge and what they require from your debrief. Consider delivering a short summary to a wider audience, then a longer, more detailed session just with those who really want it (e.g. your main client, the insight team)
Keep your slides as minimal as possible, both in overall number, and in content per slide. This may well mean using appendices or supplementary slides, but will make the content you do show have more impact as it isn’t surrounded by clutter
Perhaps the top tip I came away with is this: write all the key points on post it notes before you start charting, and use these to work out the structure and order the presentation should take (don’t forget, there really is no need to follow the topic guide/ questionnaire order!).
As someone at the non-techy end of the spectrum, I was also really pleased that Danny did not consider advanced IT knowledge essential. Whilst things like Prezi and infographics may have a role, by using a very simple Powerpoint presentation effectively, it is still perfectly possible to communicate insightfully.
I really recommend that you watch Danny’s presentation when it’s put online, as his style of presenting and how he interacted with the slides he used are worth seeing for yourself.
By Debbie Moorcroft