How long should my presentation be?

Always leave them wanting more!
–P.T. Barnum
Creator of “The Greatest Show On Earth!®

About our Presentation Length Calculator
Freakalytics-presentation-length-calculatorCreating compelling presentations that are clear and actionable are the lifeblood of successful analyst teams. Often, analysts have worked on problems for days or weeks and have much more material to present than is relevant or useful for the audience that will take action. To help analysts communicate effectively, we created the Presentation Length Calculator. It should provide useful guidance for how many slides to have ready in your presentation based on the amount of time you have for your meeting, the backgrounds of the key people in your audience and the level of decision-maker you are presenting for.

The formulas behind these recommendations are based on feedback collected from over 40 executives, more than 100 managers/directors and hundreds of experienced analysts. Of course, no formula is universal, so use these recommendations as guidelines and tailor them based on your industry, your company, your experiences with the audience and your success with past presentations.

The hardest part for many analysts is offering a course of action that is grounded in their analysis. However, for business decision-makers, this is where an analyst actually creates the greatest value for the company. Our data shows that making useful course of action recommendations is critical to the long-term success of analyst teams. If you are nervous about recommendations, a good approach is to share the level of uncertainty about your analysis and consider sharing how you will measure the success or need for course corrections as course actions are implemented by the decision-maker.

For ideas on dealing with uncertainty in your presentations, see our article on honesty in analytics. This article includes examples of sharing information about uncertainty in your analyses.

Here is an example of an effective presentation targeted at directors and managers. This example includes a slide deck from our supplementary materials for our book, The Accidental Analyst.

   
 
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