Communication is a critical skill for analysts, and the communication skill that matters most is the ability to connect with executives. After all, the company's leaders are the ones who decide whether the business is getting value from analytics, and, ultimately, they determine the future and growth of the practice.

Unfortunately, communication with executives can be a struggle for many analysts. Much of what analysts do is meticulous, but many executives don't have the time to focus as much on the details. When talking with managers, however, many analysts have difficulty adjusting their content and style for effective communication.

Sound familiar? Here are five ways to create meaningful communication with the higher-ups.

1. Build trust

What's important is that you not only provide correct data but also ensure that the information you present is accurate and the conclusions you derive are sound.

Besides the obvious detailed Q&A of your work, be sure to step back and ask yourself, "Does this make sense?" If your analytics "Spidey sense" is tingling, don't share the data yet. Make sure you validate the data until you're certain it's correct.

One way is attempt to answer the same question two ways. Often, an analytics problem can be answered more than one way. By answering it in at least two ways, you can ensure that your conclusions are sound. The goal isn't to get identical answers, but, rather, to make sure that different methods lead to the same conclusion.

2. Balance speed and accuracy

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image of Michele Kiss
Michele Kiss is a self-admitted analytics geek. She is director of digital analytics at Red Door Interactive, where she leads a team of analysts to produce actionable insights and recommendations to optimize clients' online initiatives. You can contact her via or follow her at @michelejkiss.