NewMR Webinar: New Approaches to Presenting Data

See more Worst PPT Slide Ever winners at InFocus

NewMR held a 2-hour webinar today on new and innovative ideas and approaches to presenting marketing data and insights. This was my first NewMR webinar, and I was very pleased with the variety of participants (representing both sides of the Atlantic), the insightful responses during the panel discussion (thank you for answering my questions!), and each of the presentations. Participants included Ray Poynter of The Future Place, Justine Carleton Gage of Lextant, Nima Srinivasan of Added Value, and Kathryn Korostoff of Research Rockstar. Andrew Jeavons of Survey Analytics acted as moderator.
 
Ray Poynter’s talk on creating aesthetically pleasing, informative presentations was especially good. We’ve all used PowerPoint at least a few times in our lives, whether for a class presentation or in conveying insights to upper management at our jobs. We either love it or hate it or both, and some of us are better at it than others (and I don’t just mean the talking part, but actually designing slides so they strike that perfect balance between too much information and too little, poor template/background/style choice, etc.) I’m pretty good at designing succinct, interesting presentations, but am always looking for pointers on how I can enhance them to be even better.
 
The most important takeaway point from Poynter’s talk for me was that nothing superfluous should ever be included in a presentation. This is right on. It means don’t include anything that doesn’t have something to do with your main point or what you are trying to get across to your audience. Other useful points from Ray’s talk:
  • Extra items on slides create a challenge (keep it simple)
  • However, the right image or graphic can really enhance your presentation
  • Recall is better when there are graphical representations of findings (memorable graphics are a plus)
  • Stay away from busy backgrounds, 3D charts, text boxes, images under charts, irrelevant images/colors
  • Logos aren’t necessary if you’re presenting insights to a client because they should (hopefully) know who you are by that point
  • Too much data stops messages from getting through
  • Debriefing is the meat and drink of the presentation (what does this all mean?)
  • Get away from bullet points (everyone uses them so be more creative)
From the other talks I got a good sense of what it’s actually like to design and give market research presentations and convey insights to clients. There were some very impressive examples of slides and methods, for example using images of everyday objects as metaphors for qualitative data, or the use of archetypes to discuss brand personalities. Justine Carleton Gage discussed the importance of insights translation, which “bridges the gap between research and development.” Doing a good job at this is crucial for telling your clients what they need to know and how to act on findings (hence the term actionable insights that is often thrown around).
 

Example of insights translation, cellphone personalities study, Justine Carleton Gage, Lextant

An innovative infographic from Nima Srinivasan, Added Value

Other takeaway points from the post-presentation panel discussion (some are no-brainers but also good reminders):
  • The first two or three minutes are the most important (this is the time to tell about the “shocking and contrary” findings)
  • Know the basics of PPT presentations, including how to change backgrounds, templates, fonts, styles, etc.
  • What is the story you want to tell? Know this, then the presentation design will follow.
  • Storyboard your presentation before actually putting it together, kind of like how television shows are made.
  • You don’t want your presentation to be too long, but you also don’t want to cram too much information into a short amount of time.
  • Organize your findings by the project objectives
And my favorite:
  • White space is your friend!
As for giving the actual presentation, practice always leads us one step closer to perfection. But one idea proposed by Ray Poynter that really struck me was to present in front of people you know, and at the end have them tell you two things you did really well, and two things you should try and work on.

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