You can use outcome data to describe and improve service delivery. However, your valuable outcome data will not appear valuable if poorly presented. Whether for staff, clients, funders, or other stakeholders, develop presentations that are professional, clear, and meaningful to the audience. The following can help you to do so.
Begin with a Summary. Develop an introduction that provides context. This may include a summary of the program’s mission and goals, populations served, services provided, benchmarks, and broad program outcomes.
Develop one or two slides summarizing key outcomes that will be examined in detail later.
Keep it Simple. Do not overwhelm the audience. Keep presentations simple; do not crowd too much data on a page. Highlight key points with color, arrows, or circles. Clearly label tables and charts. Provide conclusions that can be drawn from the data. At the end of the report or presentation, provide a summary of the key points that were made.
Define and Use Terms Consistently. Effective communication means that the presenter and the audience have a shared understanding of what is being communicated. Since your audiences may include program leaders, clinical staff, non-clinical staff, and volunteers, provide clear and concise definitions of any technical terms you use. Use terminology in consistent and unambiguous ways.
A graph should illustrate or explain verbal or written material, not vice versa. Overly complex graphs requiring detailed and lengthy explanations are impractical and unappealing.
Prepare Professionally. Prepare presentations and reports professionally, even when they are for internal program use. Develop presentations with a consistent look and feel using professionally developed charts and graphs.
Use Benchmarks to Compare. Compare your current program outcomes with previous outcomes (such as intake to follow-up) or published benchmarks.
This allows the audience to understand how your outcomes compare with previous outcomes or with other programs or other client groups.
You can also compare your rates with published rates for abstinence, arrests, employment, high school graduation, treatment completion, high-risk behaviors, and follow-ups.
By Mim Landry
Senior Public Health Analyst