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SMU Libraries

SMU-X Survival Toolkit: Tailoring Communication to Your Client

This guide provides useful information and links to resources on SMU-X.

At A Glance


Experts agree that communicators who understand their audience, and tailor their message to suit their needs are more successful in achieving their communication goals. The following resources were compiled by the Centre for English Communication at SMU; they provide practical advice on how you can best tailor spoken and written communication to win over your client and your SMU-X supervisors.


The Director of the Centre for English Communication, Dr S.A. Varghese, shares practical tips on how you can formulate a clear written message. These simple techniques can be adapted to all written communication to your client, including emails and business proposals. Dr S.A. Varghese demonstrates how you can apply Barbara Minto’s SCQA framework to writing an executive summary. This technique will help you write an executive summary that addresses the needs of your audience and stakeholders in a clear, concise and coherent manner.

When asked about the strengths and weaknesses of SMU-X students’ presentations, one professor revealed that he likes it when students tell a story, “When you have to watch up to 30 presentations over a few days, it’s not easy to remember the content of each team’s proposal.” So, how can you bring the content of your presentation to life? 

Here’s a short article and an online tutorial on data storytelling by Brent Dykes, who has over 12 years of enterprise analytics experience at Omniture and Adobe and published two books on digital analytics. The article provides an overview of Dykes’ principles of data storytelling; how you the combination of data, visuals and a narrative will not only captivate your audience but also drive change.

In this ~40-minute podcast, Brent Dykes explains in more detail how data storytelling can help your presentations be more memorable and influence your clients adopt your proposal.



  • 6 Common Pitch Deck Mistakes You Need to Avoid (Article)
    Martin Leunendonk is an entrepreneur and former VC manager and investment banker who has helped start-ups raise millions in venture capital. In this article, he outlines six common pitch deck mistakes inexperienced entrepreneurs make and how they can be avoided; for example, trying to solve too many problems and ‘cut and paste’ presentations that don’t suit the needs of the audience.

This section lists some recommended readings.

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy