I was recently involved in an online meeting with our data marketing partners and invariably the meeting, (as they often do) turned into a presentation.
Unfortunately, our counterparts presented a very complicated and confusing spreadsheet full of hard data.
In their defence, they explained the story that the data told really well – even referring to it as a story…
But, who in reality fully engages with a page full of numbers?
We say this all the time (because it’s true), the audience is the most important stakeholder in any presentation. You need to produce presentation content that resonates and engages with them, and this has never been truer when it comes to data.
Yesterday’s presenter works with heavy spreadsheets every day, she knows them inside out. She is passionate about what they represent and could easily tell the story in the data.
Her audience (in this case, myself and two colleagues) aren’t overly familiar with these spreadsheets and couldn’t easily identify meaning within the data. We were trying to follow her, whilst interpreting the spreadsheet.
So, when it comes to hard data and presentations remember, just because you can decode the matrix, it doesn’t mean your audience can.
If they only see noise on your slide, it doesn’t matter if you present it with all the passion in the world – you will lose them.
Therefore, we’ve pulled together some sound advice on how to keep your audience engaged when you are presenting data…
We all know that hard data gives a result, but if you can break down the process in a simple way, your audience will thank you for it.
You would be surprised, but even the smartest of audiences get confused when they’re trying to listen to what you’re saying and interpret a complicated graph from the back of an auditorium.
This table might look super simple, but just by adding a call-out graphic to appear on-click as you talk around one set of figures will help your audience stay focused and absorb the information.
With the new (INSERT) Icon functionality you don’t need any advanced PowerPoint training to produce slides like this…
Is there a simple way to turn your data into a graphic relating to the topic? Data that talks about volume of people might be an easy one, but think just how clear and simple this slide is for the audience to take this on-board.
Tell a story…
All data tells a story. It could be year on year improvement, impact of change, or anything. The point is this; if you are sharing it in your presentation, then it’s there for a reason. Identify that reason and make it part of your presentation’s story.
In our founder Simon Morton’s book, The Presentation Lab, Simon advises the 3 steps to data visualisation in your PowerPoint presentation design…
You need a strong message around which to build your story.
This message needs to be supported with relevant content.
This content needs to be visualised in a way that connects with your audience.
When you take this approach, you can turn your data into a powerful and engaging presentation story…
Good luck in making your data work harder in your presentations, if you would like it to really resonate with your audience then please do just give us a ring…