As I have mentioned in a previous post I am now working as a Market and Social Researcher, which is partly my excuse for not writing as much anymore – my life is just too darn busy! Not like the good ol’ days when I was a student, just chilling and relaxing all cool writing my blog posts daily and pretending to be incredibly insightful and interesting..!
This blog post is centered around my recent trip to Bristol for a talk given by the MRS (Market Research Society). My colleagues and I took the train from Cardiff (we are very environmentally aware…) to the Future Inn where we were greeted by the organiser of the event, John Bizzle. After a warm welcome we were invited to grab our name badge (I was WAY too excited about this – I don’t think I’ve ever felt so professional in all my life…) and make our way into the conference room. There was a pretty impressive turn out actually, it was a small room but completely full, clearly we are very hip and found the cool happenin’ place in the MRS circle…!
Our speaker for the evening was Danny Wain, who will be the same person to run the presentation course I’ve been enrolled in this November. He was an impressive speaker so I have high expectations for the course!
Anyway, back to the talk… So what did we learn? Two main aspects come to the forefront of my mind here: ‘MASH’ and ‘Hook, Line and Thinker’.
And no, I’m not talking about mashed potatoes or fishing (although speaking of mash, does anyone remember Bodger and Badger? Everybody knows that Badger loves…. MASHED POTATOES! He makes them into shapes and eats them every day. I’ll stop now…). MASH is an anagram created by Danny, used to help Market Researchers like ourselves to communicate insight to our clients, whether that be via presentations, or through the medium of reports.
M – Memorability. Because what use is your research if the client can’t remember the key message to take away from it?
A – Actionability. Can the client use the information to move forward, is it clear what actions they need to take in order to proceed?
S – Succinct. Clients don’t want to hear 100 presentation slides, read 200 bar charts, digest 500 percentages and trudge through documents the length of the Great Wall of China to get to the point. If it doesn’t help your story, what is it doing there?
H – Humanism. It’s difficult to communicate something if it’s not relatable. Make your research come alive by humanising it. And ensure people can understand what you are trying to express. Is it a Christmas ornament storage solution… or a cardboard box? Keep it simple, keep it human.
So what about Hook, Line and Thinker? This referred less to communicating your data in a simple and easily understandable way (like with MASH) but more in an interesting and exciting way. In a lot of ways it’s similar to journalism, creating your ‘hook’, or a leading key finding to entice your client. Follow with the story of your data/finding, or the ‘line’. And finally, end with a ‘thinker’, the point you want your client to take away from the research, in a way that is clear for them to know what they need to do following your communication.
The final (and most important) point to remember is to ensure sure your data/report/presentation/findings is relevant to the client. Although you could say that this is common sense, it is easy to get lost in data and interesting findings that are actually of no help or relevance to your client. The ability to take a step back, see the bigger picture, and hone in on the main issue is a skill that is probably built on experience, and I very much look forward to developing this during my time as a researcher.