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The Importance of Adding “Communicator” to your Analytics Skill Set

On Tuesday, the blog  “Communications Conversations,” aimed at PR, Marketing and Advertising professionals, argued for the importance of adding analytics to your skill set as a communicator.

For those who studied and now practice any form of mass communication –public relations, advertising and now emerging and social media – the realization set in that the last math class you decided to blow off in college, may not have been the best idea.

Arik C. Hanson, principal of ACH Communications, makes the point for communicators:

“There is a “new math” on the horizon for every one of us in the PR profession…one that I suspect most of us have not embraced. In the midst of all the hype around social media, there is surprisingly little talk around a critical emerging skill: mastery of website analytics. Simply put, we need to be able to understand the math of online behavior.  Why is it so important? Because our job as counselors is changing rapidly.”

For accounting and finance professionals – the inverse is also true. What good are numbers if you cannot clearly communicate the meaning and strategic direction behind them?

When communicating “the numbers,” whether to your boss, employees or team, a client or other stakeholder in your company, here are a few tips to remember that will help position you as a clear, engaging and compelling financial communicator:

  • Focus beyond the numbers: While it may be your responsibility to overly focus, triple check and configure every number, it’s also your job to answer the “so what.” Explain the terminology and what, strategically, the numbers you’ve recorded mean. Then if necessary and appropriate, use the numbers to support your points.
  • Avoid jargon: As with any profession, the financial world is plagued with jargon that can diffuse your message and confuse your audience. Try using metaphors or analogies that those who are not familiar with analyzing numbers would better understand.
  • Be honest and transparent: Being candid with your stakeholders, employees and clients (even when you have bad news), while may seem frightening to you, will actually help instill confidence and credibility in your professional relationship. On the flip side, if there’s good news to celebrate, don’t shy away from the candor of a job well done.
  • Include action items: After you’ve explained the “so what” be sure to explain, “what’s next.” Your client or those working for the company will want to know your plans on improving, stabilizing or maintaining the status of the financial situation. Be sure to also use facts to put things into realistic perspective.