This is the 5th in a 7-part series on how to get a team to implement your recommendations. Tip #1 was: Hide Your Top 3 Recommendations. Tip #2 was Say “You”, “They”, “Customers”, “Users”, or “Research”. Don’t say “I”. Tip #3 was Give Them A Presentation, Don’t Send Them A Report. Tip #4 was Use The Word “Because” And Give A Reason. Now for Tip #5. The context is that you want to see your recommendations implemented. How can you present them to a team so that they will be acted on and not dismissed?
Tip #5: Add research or statistics to bolster your recommendations — Research tells us that people make decisions based on a variety of unconscious reasons, but they like to have a rational, logical, fact-based reason to justify their decision. Including research or statistics with your recommendations makes it easier for people to say “yes”. It’s not enough to cite vague numbers without supporting evidence. You need to provide an actual source for your citation.
For example, if I say, “Research shows that people can only remember 3-4 items”, that is not as strong as saying: “You’ve probably heard that people can remember 7 plus or minus 2 items (5-9), but that number is not accurate. Separate research studies, for instance those by Baddeley and more by Cowan, show that the number is really 3-4 not 5-9”. Then you want to provide the actual research paper citation. (Of course I’m going to recommend my book, 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People, as a great source for research citations about design!). If you are going to quote statistics make sure of the number and provide a source for the data.
Using your own data, for example, data from user research you conducted is also a great idea. If you have direct quotes and/or video clips from actual users/customers, that is the most powerful and persuasive.
What do you think? Have you been citing research and sources with your recommendations?