February 4, 2013
This entry is one in a series of Top 10 lessons learned by Ron Potter in his previous job as the Director of Capacity Planning at a Fortune 100 health insurance provider.
Consider Your Audience...
Capacity planners share the results of their work with a wide range of audiences, ranging from the very technical to the layperson. It’s part of our job. Because of the differences in understanding, we should not use a one-size-fits-all approach to our reports. This means we may need to develop several versions of a report. One version may be very detailed to satisfy the needs of technical support teams. Another may be very high level so senior executives can understand the importance of your report and what it means to the business.
When developing these different reports and presentations, consider your audience when choosing words. Network technicians will know what you mean by network congestion but that may mean nothing more than a head cold to your business leader. As you write more reports, keep a file of the words that work best for you in different situations. You may also want to keep track of the ones that didn’t work, even though our memory usually reminds us of those.
When presenting in mixed audiences, remember what you learned in elementary school when dealing with fractions – find the least common denominator. Aim for your executives. You may bore those who crave details, but you can always feed them more information at a later date. You usually only get one shot with the executive and they are usually the decision makers.
By tailoring your presentations to your audience, attendees will appreciate the level of understanding they receive and will look forward to future ones. People will pay attention to your work and thus understand its importance.
Until the next post…