The UGA and MRII are proud to offer a new Principles Express online course, Communicating Research Results, authored by C. Frederic John, the founder of Consilience Research & Consulting, specializing in B2B, corporate reputation, and financial services. We are grateful that the course is sponsored by Confirmit, a leading provider of software for market research and enterprise feedback management. The course shows how to translate findings from studies of all kinds into stories that grab an audience’s attention, address the business decision that clients need to make, and offer sound recommendations. The following is a course excerpt.
Professional research report writers can often find themselves in a somewhat similar position to that of the Trojan princess Cassandra. Among the many tragic figures in Greek mythology, she bore a particularly unfortunate fate: she was blessed with the gift of prophecy but cursed with the fact that no one would believe her. So her warnings about Troy’s demise fell on deaf ears. Professional work enables research report writers to draw conclusions and implications concerning likely developments affecting markets and brands which clients sometimes choose to ignore. This is not because the clients don’t accept the validity of the efforts, but because research report writers have failed to communicate the story effectively.
A critical skill of the research report writer that is too often overlooked is when they effectively communicate research results, their implications, and the recommendations based on what was learned. If research results are not well articulated, they will have no impact on business decisions. When it comes to content, many research report writers feel obligated to report everything that was learned in the form of a data dump. It is best to remember that the goal is to communicate what was learned rather than what was asked. This affects not only the results that are chosen to be shared, but also the order in which they are presented.
What makes a report or presentation effective? Ultimately, one that engages the stakeholders. This includes:
- Capturing and keeping their attention
- Making sure they understand what is being told to them, and remember at least the critical points
- Getting them to appreciate the overall value and importance of the findings
- Stimulating them to act on it
There are many approaches to creating reports and presentations in terms of style, structure, format, and delivery. Simply laying reports and presentations out before clients or other stakeholders may not convince them of the intrinsic values. How to communicate findings, conclusions, and recommendations determines the impact. That is why reporting and presenting are so critical to the research process.
Ultimately, your task as a research report writer or presenter is to persuade your audience to accept your findings, conclusions, and implications, and act on your recommendations.