I'm not sure if it's a good or a bad thing, but being Captain Data around here seems to be raising my profile. I've been asked to make a presentation to the board! Of course, it's an opportunity to get some senior-level exposure for some of the work I've been doing, but to be perfectly honest, standing up and talking in front of people, especially big cheeses, still leaves me cold.
The trouble is, I'm detail-oriented and analytical by nature, so having to tell a high-level story without getting into the nitty-gritty just isn't my style. I have to remind myself that it's not the data that excites most people but what patterns can be inferred from it and translated into business decisions. But it's hard to keep it simple when the issues are complex.
I've been through the detailed reports and drill-downs, but I think what I need to do is just present a single dashboard. That way, I don't have to worry about producing lots of slides and inadvertently causing "death by PowerPoint" by reading off them. Dashboards look really great, too - visually a lot easier on the eye, more immediate than tables of numbers and altogether slicker and more impressive. And because dashboards are interactive, I can use the dials and gauges to show a variety of scenarios - actual and hypothetical - and illustrate the potential outcomes of decisions, all in one screen. I'm hoping that with a bit of luck, I can turn it into more of a high-level discussion than a presentation and let the CEO and directors do some of the work for me.
Now all I have to work on is not jingling change in my pockets, not starting every sentence with "basically" (which I always do when I'm nervous) and choosing something presentable to wear that doesn't make it look like I'm trying too hard to impress...!