How Learning the Ukulele Helped Me Think About Presenting Information

By jessicabroome on January 10, 2019 in Lessons Learned, Musings, Research

As part of my personal Alzheimer’s prevention program, I’ve added ukulele lessons to my life. In addition to now being able to play both “Sea of Love” and “Hallelujah,” I got a firsthand demonstration of how people absorb information. I’ve always known that some people are “visual” learners and other people are “doers.” But my experience trying to learn finger placement for uke chords really made this knowledge come to life.

My teacher kept wanting to show me chords on his rendering of a uke:

Aaack! I found this IMPOSSIBLE to translate to the instrument I was holding in my hands. For me, it was easier to hear him tell me the placement in a sentence (“Put your first finger on the second fret of G”) or to see it in a chart. I eventually made myself a spreadsheet, which Jake proclaimed “totally overwhelming!”

In the research world, some clients (not many) ask me for Word documents telling their story using data. More often, we do visually interesting PowerPoint decks like this one. But lately, I’ve been exploring some new options for reporting:

1. Graphic Recording: I saw this in action when I was doing focus groups with members of a professional association at their annual conference. An AMAZING graphic recorder from ImageThink (a fellow woman-owned, Brooklyn-based small business!) stood in the room with us at a huge foam board and did a visual rendering of all the key themes and connections that came up. It was inspiring to watch him in action — and better yet, my report was 90% done when I walked out of the last group! Quick turnaround qualitative, anyone?

2. Podcast Reports: My friend and colleague Casey of NimbleMR has recently introduced podcast reports to her repertoire. She already had a side gig doing a podcast about knitting and was easily able to segue into podcasting about research results– a totally different delivery from our typical visual reports, and great for a client who wants to absorb findings on their commute!

I’m so excited to use these tools for research reporting! Sound like something your company might be interested in? Let’s discuss! (I promise you won’t have to listen to me play the ukulele…)

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All material copyright 2014-2016 | Jessica Broome Research | Portrait photo by Sarah Hodzic, Blink Photography