The importance of polish and simplicity

Far too often analysts produce reports that are impossible for read for anyone that isn't an analyst themselves.
A natural reaction for people that don't understand something is get defensive and to start to look for problems. There are almost always areas of an analysis that can be attacked. Was the sample size large enough, is your web analytics data quality accurate enough, are you matching customers within your CRM properly etc.

Too often, analysts try to protect themselves from criticism by layering in even more data points, caveats, formulas and proofs in their arguments. This is exactly the wrong approach for most audiences.

The way you learned how to present an analysis in school is almost the complete opposite of how you should present it in business.

In essence, one of the most robust approaches is to do the analysis and have all of the data backing up your findings, but present a summary of your work. Leave in only a few notes about high level data sources to show that the analysis was robust. And for the love of God, DO NOT put the methodology at the front of a presentation. If you were in an elevator trying to convince someone of a point would you first start talking about your general reasoning methodology?

If you want your ideas and recommendations to be taken seriously, you need to be able to explain them in a simple manner, otherwise people won't listen to you. It doesn't matter if you're an analyst working within a large organization, or the founder of your own company, if you can't explain why your analysis makes sense to your Mom/Grandma/Child then you are limiting the impact it will have.

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