Baker’s Dozen

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Baker’s Dozen 13 tips for cooking up tasty reports Liz Van Patten QRCA Annual Conference October 2012

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Recipe Framing Storytelling Crafting insights Making it accessible

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1. Understand client’s objectives and choices Plan to answer the objectives Consider the available options

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2. Get agreement on reporting methods How will report be used? What format(s) is best solution?

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Report or Presentation?

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3. Create a template from project objectives Build a structure for the report Start with issues in the guide

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Useful reports are information pyramids Insights Headlines Findings

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Information structured for reader segments Scan Read Study

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4. Start writing before fieldwork begins Write objectives and method in advance Gives stronger focus during interviewing

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5. Get a head start with debriefs Listen to clients Start process of report writing Keeps everyone on the same page

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Story 6. Tell a compelling story

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One-third pie Two-thirds pie Three-thirds pie No-thirds pie Stories make sense of the data

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7. Select findings that support your story Focus on the objectives Resist including everything Avoid tangents

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8. Add value with analysis Incorporate your own unique insights

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9. Make information easy to access Write headlines not labels Scan in ten minutes

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10. Craft insights that lead to action Write action-oriented insights Use verbs

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What is an insight anyway? Below the surface Not common knowledge Leads to new opportunities

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11. Visualize your insights Look for metaphors and visuals Makes it more memorable

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Three communication need states Not mutually exclusive Varied requirements for each

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12. Use visual emphasis to highlight insights Bold fonts* Colored fonts Call-outs Colored boxes *avoid all caps or underscored

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Highlight key take-aways Make them easy to find 13. Highlight findings that support insights

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Source: Tapping Encore Talent MetLife/Civic Ventures Survey

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Emphasize headlines to guide readers Source: Tapping Encore Talent MetLife/Civic Ventures Survey

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Headlines become useful Table of Contents Source: Tapping Encore Talent MetLife/Civic Ventures Survey

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Recipe for better reports Understand client needs Get a head start Write from the objectives Think like a mystery writer Craft insights Make information accessible

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Thank you! Liz Van Patten 631-283-7842 Lvanpatten@aol.com