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.