Key Elements of a Report That Delights

When I speak to clients about potential projects, one of the questions I am most often asked is about the final deliverable – what will it look like, what will it include? And that’s fair. Research is an investment, and it’s reasonable to want to know how the insights will be delivered. And yet many researchers and insights professionals have been burned by a lackluster report.

Here are a few key rules our team follows to make sure we consistently provide quality deliverables for our clients.

  1. Be concise. Directly state findings and avoid wordiness and exaggeration. Summarize what respondents said that is significant to the original research questions and objectives. Unrelated details such as responses from warm-up questions or irrelevant tangents should be omitted.
  2. Focus on a point of view. Insights should be an interpretation and analysis of the findings and have a clear voice in the report. Connect each result back to the objectives and answer the research questions. The story inside the report should have a clear beginning, middle and end.
  3. Make thoughtful recommendations. Implications should clearly state what to do with the insights in a way that is relevant and sensitive to the client’s business questions. Illuminate opportunities, considerations, and next steps.
  4. Create visual interest. Communicate key insights with photos, video clips, and respondent quotes. Use graphics to tell the story rather than paragraphs. In other words, jazz it up! A little spark emphasizes the main points and reiterates how research can provide solutions to business goals but also makes for an enjoyable read.

If you need to rant about your experiences when the report simply didn’t deliver, or just want to talk further about elements of an effective report, drop us a line. We’d love to chat.