Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Want Successful Market Research Presentations? Think Like a Teacher

Think back to high school.  Was your favorite teacher your favorite because of the subject they taught?  Probably not. Most likely that teacher possessed some traits that would have made them a great teacher no matter the subject.  Market researchers can learn some important lessons from this.

You may already be doing many of the things great teachers do. Consider:
  • Focus on prioritization:  Do you always have clear objectives for your presentations?
  • Focus on comprehension: Do you spend time designing content so that it will be understandable?
  • Focus on retention: Do you put great effort into making sure that your clients will retain key pieces of information?
  • Focus on engagement: Do you strive to be engaging when presenting research?

For example, just as teachers focus on comprehension and retention, so do we as researchers. After all, our presentations are pretty pointless if people don’t understand and remember the key findings.

So let’s try a little exercise.

Step 1: If you were a school teacher, how might you address these challenges?
  1. Students are having trouble staying focused during lectures.
  2. Students aren’t retaining the key lessons from a given lecture.
  3. Students are not applying the lessons.  

Write down one possible solution for each of the above before proceeding. And give yourself at least five minutes for this task.

Step 2: Can you apply those solutions to your market research presentations?

Now let’s apply this to market research. Take the solutions you identified above and see if they apply to each of the following:
  1. Clients are having trouble staying focused during presentations.
  2. My clients aren’t retaining the information from my presentations. .
  3. My clients are not applying the research’s key findings to real decision making.

Did the solution you came up with for 1 apply to A? 2 to B? And 3 to C?

For item 1, one solution might be, “make classes more engaging by having questions prepared to ask the students after each major point.” In a market research context, for item A, this could translate as, “make presentations less boring by asking the audience what they think the result was to a key question before showing them the actual data; did they guess right?” For example, in presenting a branding study, you might ask “What percent of our customers describe the company as “family friendly”?” What the audience guesses before you reveal the results can be a great segue to a memorable presentation.

Are we “delivering” or “teaching” research results?

One of our greatest challenges as market researchers is in getting people to use our research. But if they don’t really understand it, and haven’t really retained it, it simply won’t happen. Be inspired by the best teachers you had growing up; you may be able to apply their methods to your next market research project presentation.
By Kathryn Korostoff, Founder and Lead Instructor at Research Rockstar LLC. She can be reached at KKorostoff@ResearchRockstar.com.


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