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The Optimal Number of Slides for a Monthly Performance Report

On average, people pull from two to six data sources to assemble a weekly or monthly performance report. How many slides does it take to tell a complete story?
Matt Talbot
Matt Talbot
|
CEO of Superchart
January 12, 2023
The Optimal Number of Slides for a Monthly Business Performance Reporting

A monthly performance report is a great way to communicate important information to stakeholders, whether internal or external to your organization.

These snapshots can help tell the story of what’s happening and can provide actionable insights for a team.

But how many slides is too many? Read on to learn how to strike the perfect balance between creating overwhelm and leaving your stakeholders scratching their heads. 

Define Your Audience

First things first, the most important thing is to understand your audience and what the audience is seeking in your report.

Depending on the audience, you will want to adjust the level of detail that you are including. 

For instance, if your monthly performance update is being shared with a team member or manager that is a stickler for getting into the details, it’s good to err on the side of providing more information. 

Other times, your audience may be people that just want the high level takeaways. In this case, do your best to distill the information as much as you can.

Prioritize the Subject Matter

Certain subjects and performance areas are just more complex and detail oriented than others. The key is to make sure you have done the work to really prioritize the details to communicate the most important information. 

This can be difficult, because as the report author, you are aware of all of the details and nuances of the subject matter.

However, a clear prioritization of what to cover in the report can make all the difference and ensure that your report will connect with the audience. 

One great way to help prioritize is to understand the context of the report and the priorities of the audience. 

For instance, if your company has set an objective around profitability, you should probably prioritize the subject matter of your report around the insights most impactful to profitability. 

Button Up Your Metrics

Any monthly report worth its weight should be loaded up with relevant data and metrics about the subject at hand.

If you don’t include enough verifiable, objective data, you run the risk of, frankly, looking like you don’t know what you are talking about.

Think about organizing your metrics in a way that mixes both the lagging indicators as well as the leading indicators. Monthly performance reports should help drive action, so the metrics should help guide where attention should be placed for the upcoming month. 

Always be sure to double check calculations and run a sanity check on all the numbers. There can be nothing more discrediting than presenting information that has inaccuracies. If you have a teammate who is especially strong with details, don’t by shy to ask for another set of eyes on your report, especially if it’s a relatively new process. 

So, What is the Right Length?

As you can see from the considerations above, the right length can vary significantly because a monthly performance report can serve many different purposes.

However, a good rule of thumb is that a monthly performance report should have between five and 15 slides to be considered appropriate length. 

Every organization has a different communication style and, because of that, your particular situation could be different. There are many examples of fantastic and thorough one slide reports as well as 100+ slide reports.

In Conclusion

Like most things, starting with the purpose will lead you in the right direction. There is no hard and fast rule about how many slides should be included in a monthly performance report, but a good rule of thumb is between five and 15. Outside of that, it will depend on your specific situation. 

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