Preparing Your Content: Analysis vs. Communication
This blog post is the first in a series on creating the Content of your presentation. Content includes the Introduction, the Main Body, and the Conclusion. I'll cover the Introduction last because it is easier to create the Introduction once the Main Body of the presentation is defined. As there isn't much to say about the Conclusion, most of the posts will relate to the Main Body. There are many ways to organize the Main Body of your presentation, and as with everything related to presenting, the structure you choose will depend on your goals and your audience.
In this post, I would like to highlight a distinction that I have found useful as you think about what to present. It’s particularly helpful for people in technical fields, like engineering, IT, or any of the sciences. The distinction is the Difference between Analysis and Communication.
Let’s start by defining terms.
The process of breaking a complex topic into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. (Wikipedia)
A detailed examination of anything complex in order to understand its nature or to determine its essential features: a thorough study. (Merriam-Webster)
Analysis is familiar to researchers, scientists, and engineers. It is used in problem-solving. It is typically complex and, by nature, should be thorough and even exhaustive. The focus of the analysis is narrow. The goal is to dig deep, and the focus is on the problem to be solved. A successful analysis is often the result of maintaining a narrow focus.
By contrast, communication is what we do to sell the solution to the problem. When you communicate about the results of your analysis, you want to keep your explanation simple and relevant to the audience. You take into account the concerns, assumptions, and opinions of the audience. What you relate to the audience about the solution is only what interests that audience, only what that audience needs to know. Often, the audience doesn't need every detail of your analysis but, they may want to know the applications for the solution or how solving this particular problem fits into a broader context. You may need to present different aspects of the solution depending on the interests of the audience.
The main point to remember is that when you communicate about the solution to the problem, you should give more context than just the analysis of the problem.
Hopefully, keeping this distinction in mind will help you to figure out what is relevant to communicate about the analysis you have conducted.
In the next post, we will look at various ways you can organize your Content.