Tips To Impress The C-Suite With Your Data Science Knowledge


Over the years, companies have changed the course of their business and management styles as well as positions. This has opened up a new door for new opportunities that drive more inclusivity. And with the ever-evolving digital world becoming a huge part of our lives, there is more and more need to have more leaders and managers that’ll ensure companies thrive in this competitive yet rewarding era. Think about it, about 30 years ago, a lot of careers weren’t in existence, and the need for them has grown. Let’s look at C-level or C-Suite for example. While in the 80s there was a linear way of managing companies where one or a few people oversaw the company’s runnings (CEO/Big boss, Secretary/Administrator, Finance Manager and a head for every other department), these days we have more C-Suites taking care of each department and ensuring there is harmony throughout departments. Say you have a new data science project or reports on analytics and have been called to present to C-Suite, you will need to prepare well. In this article, we will look at how, as a data analyst or scientist, you can win the hearts, minds and pockets of C-Suite executives to grow yourself, your department and your company. 

Firstly; The C in C-Suite 

As you may know, C-Suites refers to executive-level members in the company whose titles also begin with the letter C. This is your CEO, CFO, CMO and more. Because these people are generally the main members that ensure the company gets opportunities and stays afloat, they usually do not have time to meet with other employees regularly. This then means if you have been invited to present to or meet with them regarding your project(s), you have to be prepared. Luckily, that’s what we are here to do. 

The first thing to remember is that your meeting is almost like an elevator pitch to C-Suites, just a bit longer and literally there for you. So you want to keep it brief yet informative. 

Let’s Get YOU Prepared 

Always remember, you are being invited to pitch or present because you are an expert in the field, so you have to be confident in what you are saying so that your audience will be able to trust your word. Most of the time, when presenting, the audience is listening to you more than they are reading a screen, and if your screen has too much information and less talking, then they will not feel the need to have been there as you could’ve just sent a presentation instead. So research your work, research potential questions from your audience, and prepare yourself to be able to speak about your work even if an unlikely event such as technology malfunctioning occurs. This will assert your case and make your audience realise you know what you are talking about, making it easy for them to trust you. 

Start At The Core 

Executive-level members in a company are generally interested in the bottom line. So start with a summary of why they are here, your key findings, what your department has been up to and such. Then back all that information up with slides and information on how you got to your findings. Remember, they are there to listen to the information you are giving them, so they are most likely aware and familiar with your work and the language your department speaks, but always allow yourself some time to check in with them and see if they are still with you. 

No Problems, Only Solutions 

Every company hits hurdles every now and then. Even your own department may have had some stumbling blocks along the way, especially regarding the presentation or project you are putting before your C-Suite. So, the best way to approach this is by acknowledging the difficulties and immediately providing either already enforced solutions or ideas that the team is willing to explore to solve your issues. Also, remember to rather inform your audience if you are unfamiliar, unaware or unable to answer a question rather than try to answer on the spot. People are most likely to be more understanding of an honest person than someone who is trying to thumb-suck information. So, inform your C-Suite that you have noted the question or suggestion and will be in touch in due time with the right answers or solutions. You are a data scientist, and scientists are known to work with research and always have to have findings, so C-Suites know you might have a ‘back to the drawing board’ or ‘fix it here and there’ moment. 

Make It A Two-Way Street 

Just as much as they are there to listen to you, you are also there to listen to them, and maybe you have some questions from your department that may need their answer, so use this opportunity to ask questions related to the work. Keep your presentation professional yet communicative so that even after the meeting, your audience will either want to talk to you more or each other. This way, you have opened up dialogue and chances of your project being picked up will increase. 

Last But Not Least

Finish as strongly as you started. Your audience will move with you, so you need to grab them from start to finish and ensure they stay interested. The work you are pitching may be the next big and best thing, so be confident in it. 

While data science may be a more computer-based profession, it is also important to have good people skills too if you are going to grow in this industry. The impressive thing about this career is the inclusivity, and access to work and study has been made available for those who wish to join this industry. Try a data science course in South Africa today and gain meaningful insights while making informed decisions. Who knows? A C-Suite data scientist position might be on the horizon for you soon.