How to Improve Your Reports to Senior Management

As your expertise increases within your organization, you will need to present your work to senior leaders. In some cases, you will be lobbying for resources for an idea you have. In others, you will be reporting your successes or giving updates mid-way. If you want these presentations to go well, you need to consider the needs of senior management and connect with them in a meaningful way. This starts with your reporting. Follow these tips to improve your data and analysis. 

Use Data Visualization to Explain Complex Concepts

You likely have an in-depth understanding of your department and can easily read the business intelligence that comes out of it. If there is a problem within your reporting dashboard, you can catch it quickly and put repairs into place to keep your team going. Your managers, however, likely don’t understand this — especially if you come from a technical background and they do not.

Data visualization can help with this. You can take your embedded analytics and present the information in a clear manner that is understandable to stakeholders. For example, one data illustration might feature a dangerous spike that needs to be addressed, or a line graph could have a steep incline that shows the good work you have done. Visual learners make up 65% of the population, so your data visualization can help you explain difficult concepts easier.

Pay Attention to Your PowerPoint Presentation Design

There is a belief in business that professional always means minimal and serious. As a result, many reports are created with very little thought put into the PowerPoint design or the template used. This can actually be a big mistake when reporting to upper management, especially if you want to keep your leaders engaged in your message. 

Consider working with a PowerPoint presentation company to develop templates you can use for your reports. They will carefully design professional backgrounds and use your logos to create an engaging (but not distracting) corporate PowerPoint template. Once you have this layout in place, you can build all of your reports with these slides and share visual presentations that reflect how much you care about the content involved. 

Define Key Concepts and Metrics

If you are presenting your PowerPoint to someone outside of your department, make sure you add definitions to the reports to help people better understand what you are trying to convey. For example, a marketer might highlight the CTR related to a digital ad campaign. Without defining the “Click-thru-rate,” and explaining what it means, many stakeholders won’t know if that number is supposed to be high or low or what it indicates. 

Along with defining key metrics, add a slide for commentary within your presentation. This takes the hard numbers and provides context through a handful of bullet points. Basically, anyone who looks at the slides after the meeting should be able to understand what the data means and what action you expect them to take after reviewing this information.

Give Your Managers Time to Review the Materials

If you are presenting complex analytics or a large number of KPIs that take time to understand, make sure you present your reports to management before you meet with them to review your insights. Data analysis takes time, and you don’t want to distract the people you are meeting with by asking them to read various charts while listening to your context at the same time. 

Make sure your managers have at least 24 hours to review your reports before you meet to discuss them. This doesn’t mean they will actually look at the content, but at least you gave them the chance to. 

Working with managers in your business means advocating for additional money, employees, and time. If you can present clear business intelligence that explains why you need these resources through quality reporting, then you can win over professionals in your organization and grow your department over time.

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