Sharing your MDI data with others is a critical first step to improve outcomes for children. Sharing your reports raises awareness of the holistic nature of child well-being, increases opportunities for local dialogue, and encourages the use of a neutral, fact-based way to discuss the strengths and challenges present in your community.
This isn’t always an easy task – we know many people can be apprehensive about presenting data, or avoid doing so altogether.
But let us reassure you: You don’t need to have it all figured out before you present your data. In fact, the whole point is to make sense of your data together.
An appreciative approach leads to discovery.
- What is your school or community doing well?
- What ideas emerge to improve and sustain these initiatives?
- What elements could you highlight to show a positive story happening at your school or community?
A traditional approach to change is to solve a problem. This often leads to presentations of data that focus on low or weak results. Yet the MDI was designed to uncover the strong, protective, and positive things in children’s lives that can build resilience and foster well-being.
When sharing your MDI data with others and engaging them in dialogue, take an appreciative approach. This will shift the focus from “what’s wrong” to recognizing the positive factors that already exist in the lives of children in order to strengthen, replicate, or expand them.
Reflecting on where efforts are already succeeding or making great strides can help ward off feelings of disappointment. Encouraging a vision for a future in which all children are thriving – a vision rich in detail – can ensure the focus remains on moving forward, not giving up. And thinking deeply about the places and times children do experience love, wonder, safety, and joy can stimulate new ideas to ensure environments support those feelings whenever possible.
Make Use of Visuals and Local Data.
Numbers don’t need to be boring – just ensure people can quickly grasp and fully connect with the data. The maps, summary indices, and infographics provided in the MDI report and slide decks can help make it easier for audiences to absorb and think critically about the data presented.
The neighbourhood-level maps and narrative summaries in particular provide visually appealing information that is specific to a local population of children. Presentations of these local results allow people to see how their neighbourhood and their children are doing, and imbues what might otherwise be dry numbers with personal meaning. Use these maps to get your audience to start talking about real places they know – have them “fill in” the maps with their own local knowledge.
Make Space for Feelings.
It’s natural for emotions to come to the surface when your audience is fully engaged and motivated by their own passion for educating and caring for children. Be prepared for some of the following responses from participants:
- Surprise at some or all of the MDI results
- Frustration or disappointment if they feel their work isn’t moving the dial
- Feeling defensive or blamed
- Feeling overwhelmed at the volume or complexity of data
- Impatience and looking for immediate solutions
Make sure you leave time in your presentation to allow people to process the data and share their feelings. Encourage audience members to articulate how the results make them feel, and how those feelings can be harnessed to motivate continued action.
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