You’ve been handed a detailed project report filled with statistics and raw data and asked to present your analysis at a meeting in just a few days. Some important information is buried within these numbers, but you’ll need to translate the data for stakeholders outside your department so they can quickly decide the future of the project. The clock is ticking. How can you present the data visually so that your audience finds it meaningful? Daphne Mackey, the author of the soon-to-launch app, Incorporating Data and Visualizations in Presentations, previews these four tips for how to present data with success.
1. Guide your audience with key phrases when you present data
Start by introducing your visual. Briefly describe what the audience is seeing. Don’t go into detail in the initial introduction. This gives the audience time to look at your visual. You can use phrases such as “this graph provides data for 2016.”
Example: “This graph gives information about travel trends in the last five years.”
Next, direct your audience’s attention to the image. Use phrases such as “as you can see” or “let me point out that.”
Example: “It’s important to notice that in the year 2000, we had over 120,000 travel agents. Now, we only have 64,000.”
Last, describe the importance and relevance of the data visualization. Use phrases such as “this clearly shows that” or “this is important because.”
Example: “This shows that we are losing marketshare to mobile apps.”
2. Support your main point
Once you have described your data visualization, return to your main point. For example, say “this explains why we need to get into mobile technology” or “based on this information, we need to redesign our product.” Make predictions such as “if this trend continues, we will lose significant market share.”
Example: “It’s clear from looking at this chart that mobile apps in the travel industry are the wave of the future.”
3. Draw a conclusion about the visual
You can use phrases such as “so you can see that” and “what this tells us is that.”
Example: “This clearly shows that we need to reinvest in technology.”
4. Avoid data dumping
The temptation to rattle off a lot of facts and figures can be defeating. Having plenty of evidence is a good position to be in. However, loading too much evidence into your presentation can hurt your credibility and confuse your audience. Instead, use data in small chunks. Explain the evidence, show the evidence, and explain the evidence again. Also, consider whether a hand out might be a better way to share the more detailed data versus a presentation.
Data and analytics are fast becoming the genie in a lamp that Corporate America can’t wait to release. And it’s no wonder why. Sharing company data in a meaningful way can mean the difference between a wise decision that meets the organization’s goals and a gut-reaction that sends you down the wrong path. Learning how to present data more effectively is a skill worth having no matter the field you are in. The University Learning Store presents you with the tools you need to create impressive and informative presentations using data. Sign up for Incorporating Data and Visualizations in Presentations and you’ll have access to tip sheets with essential terms, graphic templates, advice from a public speaking expert, and more.