Who doesn’t feel some anxiety when faced with making a presentation to an audience of practitioners and executives? Presentations are often the most stressful part of a job in business or consulting. Yet anyone can learn to write and present better than they think. As with almost everything in business, there is a process.
Based on interviews with practitioners and professors, this note will teach students to engage data, formulate a story, and use key tools to create powerful and compelling presentations. From descriptive statistics to regression to structural equation modeling to machine learning, quantitative analysis requires critical thinking and analytical rigor when it is being synthesized for presentation. Three main elements important to anyone preparing to build a presentation are (1) listening closely to clients, (2) understanding audiences, and (3) storyboarding. Thus an effective process includes asking clients the right questions, understanding how to tell stories, and being open to experimenting and learning to use technical tools efficiently.