One of the most common questions we get asked by clients and people who attend our presentation training is…’What’s the best way to present data?’.
This article aims to answer that question as quickly and concisely as we can, but will also give you some great tips that you can implement straight away. Let’s get going.
1.WHAT'S YOUR OBJECTIVE?
Before worrying about the technicalities of presenting your data the very first thing you need to ask yourself is….
…’What is my objective when presenting this data?’.
The more you focus on this question, the more you’ll come to realise that your objective is probably the same as 99.9% of people. It’s to help your audience understand the data that you’re showing them.
Maybe you want them to understand the data because they need to make an important business decision from it. It could be that you want the data to educate them about something. Or maybe you’re trying to impress a new client with data about how much revenue you’ve helped other clients make.
Whatever the data is, your objective should always be to make sure the audience understands it by the end of your talk. Period!
2. STRIP YOUR CONTENT DOWN
Let’s be real, most of the people you’ll be presenting to won’t be rocket scientists or geniuses able to take in huge amounts of data and instantly turn those into meaningful insights.
Most of us really struggle to take in lots of information all at once, and attention spans have seen a serious dip in the last 10 years. So if you want to have an impact and help people ‘get it’ you need to strip away anything that might distract them.
Every table and chart will have lots of NOISE (bits you don’t really need), and lots of SIGNAL (the juicy meaningful bits). It’s your job to increase the SIGNAL to NOISE ratio in favour of the SIGNAL as much as you can. Here’s an example of what we mean.
3. ANY TOOL WILL DO
Whether you are a PowerPoint user or a Prezi fanboy (like us), it really doesn’t matter. If you have taken the time to remove the noise and increase the signal then your data will be in a good place. Here are some quick tips for different presentation tools that might help your data be even more impactful.
- Try using simple animation to build your data as you present it. If you want to be even fancier you could try using the Morph feature instead.
- Try rebuilding your charts using simple shapes in PowerPoint rather than the built-in charts feature. It can look much cleaner and reduce so much noise!
- When using the built-in charts feature to upload your data, click the SETTINGS tab to switch off lots of noise like grid lines etc.
- Use the Prezi Zoom feature to take your audience into the data points. This is a very effective way to help people focus.
LOGITECH SPOTLIGHT REMOTE
An additional tool we’d highly recommend for all presenters is the Logitech Spotlight Wireless Remote which actually puts a spotlight (clue was in the name) over anything you point at on your presentation. You can also change the settings so to magnify parts of your presentation as well. It’s a great tool for anyone who presents data in person or virtually.
We could (and probably should) have an entire day-long course on how to present data, but we hope this article helps lots of you realise that it is much simpler than you may have thought. Just remember to:
- Know what your objective is
- Remove the noise and increase the signal
- Whatever presentation tool you have, keep it simple
Please comment below if this has helped. And if you have any questions for our team of presentation experts or would like to discuss a project, you’ll find us here.