You can improve your business intelligence presentations to executives, directors, peers, and subordinates by using tips and techniques found in the world of education. Many people are unfamiliar with the term “learning styles” but understanding this core concept and applying it to your presentation techniques will help you deliver better presentations that resonate with your audience.
What Are Learning Styles?
Educational theorists created a system of learning styles to describe the ways in which people prefer to learn. Your learning style is innate, and you probably recognize your own style in the descriptions below. Most people have a predominant style that they naturally gravitate towards when engaged in self-directed learning. Because the Western school system is heavily auditory (lecture-based) and visual (textbooks), many people who are kinesthetic or tactile learners learned early on to compensate by relying heavily on their secondary preference. No matter what your preference, there’s no one right or wrong way to learn.
The three basic learning styles are described as:
- Auditory: Auditory learners need to hear information to process it. They understand business intelligence most during your presentation and retain information best when it is spoken aloud.
- Visual: Visual learners learn best by seeing information in charts, graphs, or other pictorial representations. These members of your audience will eagerly read your full report.
- Kinesthetic: Also called tactile learners, this group must handle the data in order to understand it. This can be accomplished through role plays, simulations, or even colorful anecdotes that help your audience grasp key points.
Think back to your school days and to the teachers you liked the best. These teachers probably used techniques that appealed to all learning styles, not just one. That’s how the best presenters earn their reputation, too: they use different techniques during meetings or lectures to engage with their audience’s learning styles.
Business Intelligence Reports: Presenting with Flair
Presenting data found within business intelligence reports comes with its own set of challenges. You may need to frame the data with information so that the report makes sense. Setting the stage for the backstory, the data, and the interpretation can all help your audience understand business intelligence data.
You can use learning styles to present business intelligence data with understanding, sympathy for learners’ natural inclinations, and flair that makes them memorable.
- Provide graphs, especially bar graphs, line graphs and pie charts: These visual representations of business intelligence data are most easily understood by your visual learners.
- Stage a demonstration: To show that a technology investment will repay the company five-fold, ask someone in the audience for a dollar bill, and hand then back a $5 bill. Your kinesthetic or tactile learners will immediately grasp the concept in a deeper way than just stating the data aloud, which appeals only to the auditory learners in the group.
- Read key points from a summary document for your auditory learners, and include a Q and A session at the end of the presentation.
When you break up a presentation by appealing to various learning styles, you’ll not only meet your audience’s needs better, you’ll create a truly memorable impression. Staging a visual demonstration of the reports’ impact or acting out a data report may sound corny (and may be hard to pull off) but it will certainly be memorable.
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