Editor's note: James A. Rohde is consultant and founder of James A. Rohde Consulting, a Pittsburgh research firm. He can be reached at 412-589-9572 or at email@example.com. This article appeared in the May 21, 2012, edition of Quirk's e-newsletter.
I think that most of us can agree that our primary purpose, as researchers, is to uncover insights about a given topic and it's understandable that we spend most of our time refining our methodological capabilities and diving deeper and deeper into advanced analytics. But more often than not, we are not the ones deciding if our findings are implemented into strategy. So how much attention should we devote to cultivating our presentation skills? How much responsibility do we have to convince decision makers our recommendations are relevant?
While researchers tend to gauge the quality of a project by the methodology, decision makers tend to make their judgments based on what they can accomplish with the information. (Let's also not forget that it's usually the decision makers who set the budgets for our research.) Therefore, if a good writer can clearly communicate the findings of the research, the next step is ensuring the research's relevance by articulating the implications for decision makers.
If we truly want to be an essential part of the decision-making process and shape strategy, the implications of our findings need to take precedence over the findings alone. Regardless of the level or purity of the insights we uncover, our ability to articulate our work and its value is the only way we can keep research relevant.
So, if we expect to be consulted on big decisions, we have to make sure our research is:
Be heard (aka engage the audience)
The only way a decision maker is going to use research in building a strategy is if they actually hear the results. I'm not talking abo...