Offer a solution to a problem
Research problems senior leadership has mentioned around the presentation topic and try to find data insights that provide a solution. Executives are constantly trying to drive business performance and anyone that can offer a solution to a problem will make them take notice.
For example, you work as a data analyst supporting marketing for an e-commerce company. Year over year sales have been going down and you’re asked to investigate the cause and present your findings to senior leadership. You find after breaking down website visitors by channel that the drop in sales is from organic search which account for 50% of total sales. After further investigation the visitor drop corresponds to website changes that occurred on the same day. Once the website is fixed the sales should start to go up again. Finding the cause and offering a solution to an important KPI such as sales will make senior leadership take notice of you and leave a good impression in their minds the next time your name comes up in conversation.
Translate impact to revenue
Executives take notice when revenue is discussed. Even if the improvement to a KPI is 1% it may translate to millions of dollars. Calculate revenue impact for any recommendations you’re presenting if the percentage changes aren’t ideal.
For example, you work as a product analyst for a mobile app and are asked to present the results of a price increase test to senior leadership. Most likely you’ll report lower conversion rates against control because anytime you raise prices conversion rates drop because people are less likely to pay more for the same product. The presentation to senior leadership should focus less on the decrease and more on the incremental sales that can result from increasing prices. If both conversion rates and incremental sales are negative then there’s no good story to tell and the recommendation should be to stay at the current price point. However if conversion rates dropped but sales increased then the new prices should be adopted. Regardless of the test results, showing you considered multiple KPIs to make a recommendation indicates to senior leadership that you evaluated the results from different angles.
A great data analyst provides actionable insights to drive business performance. Even if there are no problems, you can offer next step recommendations to improve business KPIs.
In the price test example, let’s assume increasing prices didn’t result in higher conversion or increased sales. If the goal is to increase sales there are many ways to go about it that doesn’t require increasing prices. You can recommend app changes to increase conversion rates or test limited time discount offers. Leadership likes people with ideas that can improve the business and showing this initiative demonstrates your enthusiasm to help the business grow.
Have a practice run
If possible have a practice run with your stakeholders first to get feedback. Questions asked by stakeholders are often asked by senior leadership and this will give you an opportunity to research the answers before your actual presentation. If a practice run isn’t possible, have stakeholders review the content to confirm the points you’re getting across are clear. Before my presentation to the CDO ( chief digital officer ), I had meetings to review the content in addition to a practice run. The end result was a great presentation that I couldn’t have created on my own without feedback.
Presenting to senior leadership may cause you to panic. Unfortunately I’ve found no way to overcome nervousness other than to practice presenting often. The better I know my presentation material the easier it has become for me to present to others. It’s not the end of the world if you’re nervous. Providing valuable actionable insights to senior leadership goes a long way for them to have a positive perception of you.