How do I present data more effectively?
For any in the business world, presentation, especially visual data presentation, is key. You can have great facts and data to back up your proposals and ideas, but if the presentation goes bad or is not understood, they will have much less of an impact, if any at all.
While this may seem a bit unfair and can be frustrating, especially to those who have great data to present. Knowing this fact can help you better prepare your visual data presentation and can in turn help to sell your ideas. With all of this in mind, the question then becomes how to successfully present your visual data in a way that will engage those who are interested in it. Below are some ideas on how to do just that.
1. Simplify and Clean Up Your Data
This great concept comes from Avinash Kaushik. As Kaushik notes, you will know a lot more about the data you are presenting than the people you are presenting to. This is very important to remember, as certain graphs and pie charts will make perfect sense to you. However these visualizations may not make sense at all to those who do not know as much about the topic. This is where simplifying and clearly presenting your data are key.
Complex graphs and charts may be great a displaying your information, but if no one can make sense of them, they are useless for your presentation. Thus, making your visual data easy and simple to understand, as well as not visually distracting and confusing, is a great way to make sure that whoever you are presenting to understands your data and can grasp your presentation.
2. Choose Color for Your Visual Data
Don’t forget to add color to your presentation. Color is deceptively powerful and should be used skillfully. As Jack Palmer notes, colors can carry connotations with them. Being blind to these connotations can hurt you if you end up using the color wrong. Knowing different colors’ connotations, however, can help you utilize them to their best ability. Palmer gives an example on charting data on a heat map. Knowing red would be considered “bad” and green would be considered “good” is useful and can help clarify the presentation. This is a simple example, but it it helps illustrate the important point of the correct use of colors.
Besides different colors’ connotations, colors also add the visual effect of making your data more appealing to the eye, as well as potentially highlighting useful and important information within the visualization itself. This can be important for highlighting certain trends within the data, for example.
3. The Right Tool For the Job
Hopefully you see the need for a good visual representation of your data. More practical considerations should now come to mind, like what type of software is most suitable. The good news is that there is some great interactive data visualization software that you can use to really bring your presentation to life. One such program is Tableau. Tableau is a great software program that has a huge following, with over 57,000 accounts. One benefit is that it integrates well across a variety of systems. Tableau is easy to use and creates great interactive data visualization.
Another software tool is Qlikview. While Qlikview is a slightly more technical, and it’s setup is very customizable with a great range of features. It also has a strong customer base, with over 40,000 users. Whatever software you chose to use, what is important is that it fits your needs and gets the job done well.
After considering all the information above, it is definitely clear that presentation is important. The best data in the world can be ignored if it not presented effectively. That is why a good presentation is so important. By visually bringing your data to life, and by using the techniques and tips presented above, you stand a better chance at making the presentation of your data be more interesting, impacting, and ultimately more effective.
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