Creating effective reports

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Information about Creating effective reports
Data & Analytics

Published on March 31, 2014

Author: AmandaSturgill



Suggestions for creating reports for your executives that convey your data accurately and help make the best business decisions


WHY REPORTS? Bad reasons: • To look busy/it’s my job • Because it’s what you do with data • Because you can The good reason: • To answer a business question

STEP 1: YOUR AUDIENCE What do they need? What do they know? What do they need to know?


NO, THESE HIPPOS • Think they have the best answer (sometimes, that’s true) • Can stifle insight (no one wants to give bad news) • Often pay for your services • In the absence of smart data, their opinion becomes reality

STEP 2: FIND YOUR MESSAGE Start by asking the right question: Are we reaching enough users? Are we reaching the right kinds of users? Are users behaving in the way we want? Buying things Talking with us

TELL THE AUDIENCE SPECIFICS Why to care • What the business problem is • What the data CAN tell you What the issues are • What the data DO tell you • What it means in the context of the problem Possible solutions to fix the issues

TO GET ATTENTION Keep focus on issues of interest to the audience • Doing X is useful because • If X happens, Y typically follows • One way to meet the goal of X is to…

TO KEEP ATTENTION Don’t overwrite • Avoid repetition • Avoid modifiers • Use subject-verb-object sentences • Use the simplest words • Eliminate the obvious

TO BE INVALUABLE Show benefits • Short-term if possible • Long-term clearly Speak their language • Terminology • Specific business goals Be Proactive

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