I attended a great talk about making debriefs better by Andrew Vincent last night at an ICG / BIG event in Manchester.
Whether you’re a researcher, planner, account handler or client-side there was lots of food for thought. Andrew pointed out that we deliver reports and presentations to clients in a distracting environment with ever-shortening time slots to present, key people coming and going during your slot and everyone checking emails on the phone throughout. It’s also an increasingly complex world from the client’s point of view with more data (from google analytics, social listening etc.) but not enough analysis to make sense of it, more choice and a higher risk of failure. In essence, less attention is being paid to our presentations in a world of time pressured, risk-reduction based decision making.
So how can OUR presentations positively contribute to our client’s decision making in a way that makes us the first port of call next time? By focusing on what Andrew calls Simplexity, creating something that is as simple as possible without being too simple. He recommends starting with the decision your audience has to take and framing all your content in this context, crafting your story around the decision not the data. Then shedding, slimming, cutting and trimming to get the message across in less words and less time. And finally reframing everything (from scratch if necessary) to get it not just shorter but simpler.
Andrew had lots of tips for best practice that sometimes get overlooked in the battle to hit reporting deadlines:
– Make the ‘nuggets’ the key headlines, don’t hide them on slide 24
– Put the key take-aways up front so senior clients can digest them before they (inevitably) leave
– Remember that your report may well be read by someone who wasn’t at the presentation so make sure your slides make sense out of context
– Chuck all the data and ‘other stuff’ in a huge appendix for the data geeks, obsessive product managers etc.
– Make the file name descriptive!