Tuesday, October 2, 2012

60 Steps Revisited: Step 54 - Tell A Clear Story

Back in 2009, I did a series of posts covering the excellent book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers. The book is published by the US DOJ's Problem Oriented Policing Center (POP Center). Because of the value I think this book has for crime analysts, and policing in general, I am going to re-post this series on here on the blog.

In this post in our walk through the excellent book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers we're up to one of the most important chapters, Step 54 - Tell A Clear Story.

When I tell people what I do for a living, sometimes people ask just what it is that a crime analyst does. My usual stock answer is to tell people that I provide police departments with the information they need to make good decisions. The very first line of this chapter starts with the exact same thought:

The purpose of your work is to help people make better decisions.
It's this crucial part of the crime analyst's job that has led me to cover topics in this blog such as information design guru Edward Tufte's thoughts on PowerPoint as a communication medium (he doesn't like it). You can conduct a really top flight analysis of a crime problem but if you can't effectively communicate your findings to the decision maker's in your agency, all your efforts are for naught.

There is path that data takes to become knowledge.
  1. Data becomes information when it is analyzed.
  2. Information becomes knowledge when it's communicated effectively.
We've all sat through presentations where, in spite of the presenter's long winded attempts at communicating, we learned nearly nothing (except not to let that guy make another presentation). This guy may have #1 nailed. But if he blows it on #2, then he might as well have not even started.

The authors suggest using both the SARA process (Step 7) and CHEERS test (Step 13) as a framework for communicating your story to your audience. They integrate them into a great sample "four story outline" for you to base your presentation on.

Effectively communicating your story is as critical a skill for a crime analyst as GIS, or knowledge of your agency's Records Management System software. Learn what makes for an effective presentation. Not only will your audience thank you for it, but you will help your department to make better decisions.

Next time, we'll cover Step 55 - Make Clear Maps.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I reserve the right to remove defamatory, libelous, inappropriate or otherwise stupid comments. If you are a spammer or are link baiting in the comments, a pox be upon you. The same goes for people trying to sell stuff. Your comment will be deleted without mercy.