My Top Tips For Presenting Data
Monday June 5, 2017
In the world of data and analytics, presenting and explaining insight can be just as important as the results themselves. We have all been there, sitting through a presentation of 50+ slides as the presenter slowly builds up to a single piece of actionable information. Situations like this not only bore the audience, but also dilute any key messages which are trying to be conveyed. So how do you avoid falling into this ‘death by PowerPoint’ trap and ensure that results are delivered in the correct way?
Here are my top tips for presenting data in a compelling way:
1. You can use PowerPoint!
I’m not against using slide based presentations to deliver results. Without visuals and references, analytical presentations without slides can seem confusing and unstructured. However, that does not mean that every graph, chart and equation needs its own slide or in some cases to be shown at all. Over filling slides or throwing too many numbers at an audience can cause just as much confusion as having no slides. At the end of the day, customers want results, so give them.
2. Structure the presentation effectively
Use the data and analysis as the starter (light with fewer slides), the insight and results as the main course (bulk of the deck) and the recommendations as the dessert.
3. Consider using dynamic content
If the messages you are trying to deliver rely upon adjustable variables and making changes to a model or dataset then displaying snapshots in a slide format may not be the best option. I advise using Microsoft’s cloud based reporting software Power BI to produce interactive and dynamic reports. I find this method not only delivers detailed actionable insight for the audience, but also allows the user to easily manipulate complex models without the need of coding.
4. Openly discuss the data
Using dynamic content enables you to adapt insights based upon discussions and promotes a more flexible, nonlinear approach to meetings. Results of such discussions can then be saved to dashboards so that the parameters and filtering can then be replicated.
5. Share the outcomes of the meeting
I also find that Power BI is a great tool for sharing information after the presentation. By using its cloud based storage, I can share every report, dataset and dashboard from meetings within a content pack for future reference.
In a nutshell, I believe the best way to present data and insight depends entirely on the format of the meeting. If you have a static set of results with a linear progression of information leading to insight then a slide based presentation works great, if you are clear and straight to the point. If you would like to promote more of a discussion and share ideas then I advise a more interactive and flexible format by utilising reporting programs such as Microsoft’s Power BI.
Mathew White is an Data and Insight Analyst at Green 4. He works with Green 4 clients to analyse, interpret and present actionable insights from their data-driven CRM programmes.
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