Producing powerful and useful analysis or reporting to C-level executives is an exercise in precise, relevant and to-the-point communication.
As communications professionals, we want our work to matter to the C-suite. Often, that means we include too much detail in our reporting, when we should be focusing on fewer critical elements. Not only does this fail to showcase the results we’ve worked hard for, it also impacts on the perceived return on communications investment when it’s time to allocate budget.
Here’s a handy guide to creating communications reports that have impact in the boardroom:
Short & uncluttered
Brevity is a must for busy executives and board members. Keep it to one-page (two, max) and maintain plenty of white space to prevent it looking cluttered and difficult to digest.
Divide the page into sections or use clear headers to guide the reader through the content.
C-level managers need very specific facts and insights to help them make informed decisions. Above all, they are interested in what drives business results, so clearly link outcomes of communications activity to impact on your organization’s key business objectives.
Useful information to present to the C-suite includes:
- Measured outcomes and impact of activity
- Comparison and trend data, with insight analysis
- Progress towards KPIs
- Evidence-based learnings
- Researched predictions, forecasts and opportunities
- Reinforced recommendations and next steps
Reports are typically retrospective, but remember to include insight-based next steps and recommendations to demonstrate energy and momentum (and justify any additional budget requests!)
Think carefully about how you present data, analysis and insight for clarity and impact. Box outs, bullet points, graphs and charts all help communicate information in a simple yet informative way.
If you have a monitoring tool or a measurement and analysis partner, work with them to format graphs and visuals that can be plugged straight into management reports, freeing up your time for other activities.
Encourage feedback from the C-suite on the content and format of your report. Was it helpful? Was anything unclear or vague? Was anything in the report not required? Did the report meet your needs for actionable insights and informed decision-making?
And, when you get it right, stick to it! A consistent reporting structure will help to identify trends over time and, with familiarity, become easier and quicker for the reader to digest.
Always keep in mind that your goal is to supply the insight your C-suite team needs to make informed decisions, but not burden them with information overload. It is a delicate balance.
Looking for a media monitoring and measurement partner that provide the insights that really matter?
Check out How to run a successful media monitoring and measurement RFP by CARMA’s Commercial Director, Jason Weekes.
This post is based on an article originally written by Jesper Andersen.