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In this the final stage of our series: The Five Stages of CI Maturity we will talk about how to best produce and present your CI research findings.

Competitive intelligence and data management require organization and a clear process to ensure useful and accurate results. In our 5 stages of CI series we will be expanding on each stage of a CI workflow to offer greater insight into what makes the process function.

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Considerations for a quality presentation:

Stage 5: Competitive Intelligence Production and Dissemination

Target Audiences

At the end of your analysis you will need to arrange your findings in a clear, comprehensive and understandable manner meant for your target audience. That target audience often includes your stakeholders; your boss, the executive team, or a board of directors.

The key point to remember when producing successful data visualizations to these stakeholders is that not everyone absorbs or understands information in the same way. It will also be important to understand whether the information has a level of sensitivity in an organization and ensure that it reaches the right people.

Often, consultants or internal teams will work with people other than the stakeholders when accomplishing the research and collaboration required from a CI workflow. Usually these are people tasked with accomplishing CI research, or collaborations between internal teams. Ultimately, the stakeholders will be the ones receiving and digesting the information. If you are tasked with CI research and production you will need to turn around and be able to deliver the right key takeaways to the higher ups, which may or may not be the same takeaways that are important to you.

What Do They Need to Know?

At the beginning of your competitive intelligence workflow you established who would be consuming the information you pulled, organized and analyzed. You should take into account the level of detail and description they want to know. You may have dug through the wide web of information sources and now have a firm understanding after you analyzed what you found, but the marketing department might need deeper details into the specific outcomes of your research, requiring detailed statistics, while your higher ups might want a graphic depicting the high level key takeaways.

You will need a firm understanding of their expectations for your research in order to have a fully rounded out report that your audience will be able to use for actionable insights and business decisions. If your research will be used across multiple departments then it is worth considering multiple methods of data visualizations.

Preferred Delivery Means

Taking into account the type of information your audience wants will influence the way you choose to present it to them. This also ties into the fact that not everyone absorbs information the same way. Some people are visual learners and will be able to understand and get the most from your research if you produce a presentation with graphs, while others prefer a written more narrative document to read on their own time.

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At the end of your CI workflow you will have compiled and created a comprehensive report or presentation that stakeholders can use to make informed business decisions to sail past the competition and emerge on top. This will benefit your company at all points. A firm understanding of your place and your competitors' place in the market will allow you to navigate your market with lasting success.

If you are the one presenting your findings (instead of your boss or a CI consultant), there are a few key presentation tips that are good to brush up on before entering any board room or important meeting.

  1. Prepare Key Takeaways: You've done the research, you have the context and the knowledge required to deliver a compelling and informative presentation on your CI findings. However, you should still prepare your main points and the corresponding data analysis that supports each finding. The better prepared you are, the more clear and confident you will be and the more effective your presentation will be.
  2. Connect and Engage: Connect with your audience. Remember to speak clearly and practice your transitions, if necessary. Don't forget that eye contact is a strong way to connect with your audience. Ask them questions and solicit responses.
  3. Craft a Strong Start: Begin your presentation as you would an essay, set it up with the context and compelling information required to properly frame your research.
  4. Emphasize Action Items: Don't mince words when it comes to the actionable takeaways that you recommend based upon your findings. When you prepare you will have outlined how to position each takeaway and the data that supports them. End your presentation with the, "so what?" that holds the important meaning you need.

If you brush up on your presentation skills and are backed by the data you've carefully compiled, analyzed, and visualized you will leave your audience with valuable information to lead your organization out of murky waters and into the open ocean filled with the opportunity to grow.

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