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Which would you prefer: to jump to the result, a data analytics answer to your business problem; or to be taken through each of the steps we took to reach the solution? I recently had a client who has a very different way of working from what we’ve been used to at Merkle Aquila.

We found that in our presentation of the analysis we needed to focus on explaining our approach. Not so much the result, because although our client cares about the accuracy of the model, he wanted to know much more than usual about the methodologies.

In the beginning, we assumed he was like most of our senior level clients, who don’t want to know about all the statistical formulas that we put into a model. Most like to skip over all the details right to the final result. However, his academic background and interest in statistics means he likes to know how the formulas are applied and that they are correct.

Along the way, while working together, I recognised the importance of adjusting my communication style.

No one can teach you these things – as a consultant, you learn from experience and adapt to each situation as they come along. Often we work with people who have different ways of working, different communication styles and cultures.

On top of this, the analysis itself can be region dependent. For example, it could be important to recognise some clients may have divided opinions on industry-related laws and legislation. When we were working with one of our overseas clients, we found they were strongly impacted by the recent deprivatisation of the utility industry. This knowledge allowed us to provide context and background to our results when we presented back.

Just ask yourself how you feel about the introduction of Smart Meters here in the UK.

My biggest takeaway, when building flexibility around my personal style of communication, is always to ask for help. Here at Aquila, we have the support of a community that focuses on all of us asking for help and providing support when others need it. We’re always encouraged to seek advice – in whichever communication style we prefer.


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