The Eigth habit of Highly Effective Actuaries

In this post I note a number of key points on the topic of communication for Actuaries from a pack produced by Andrew Brown presented within the Commercial Actuarial Practice course offered within part 3 of the Actuarial Institute of Australia as part of the curriculum.

Perception of Actuaries
Market Opportunities Research Report
– Employees perceive that very few actuaries have limited skills to produce common sense strategic solutions and communicate them effectively
– Actuaries provide elegant solutions to quant problems … fail to translate into actionable insights

John Trowbridge Presidential Address 1998
– we are respected for our numeracy .. regarded as academic and impractical, obscure & indecisive… miss the big picture

1999 Stakeholder Research Private Health
– unable to express issues to non-actuaries .. tendency towards complexity

Consequences
– perception will continue
– job prospects will be taken up by other disciplines

Communication Control Cycle
1 Specify communication need
2 Understand the Audience
3 Solve communication need
4 Develop content/structure according to audience
5 Monitor audience feedback

Tailor communication to audience
– global v specific – domain
– towards v away from – direction
– emotional v logical – psychological
– matcher v mismatcher – accuracy
– black white v continuum – clarity/decisiveness
– why v how v what – question

Audience’s
– objective
– drivers
– language

Content/Structure
– flexibile
– targeted
– delivery – body language, tonality
– simplified
– enough to get job done
– respect
– memorable
– connection

Feedback
– assess response
– understand rather than be understood
– respond appropriately

Communication in an Actuarial Context

Factors that influence ability to communicate
– complexity
– pre-disposition
– desire
– nature
– breadth of audience
– education
– domain specific language
– pride in profession
– understanding
– specialisation

The three stages of a professional
1 learning the technical terms
2 using them
3 learning not to use them

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