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Archive for ‘Data and Statistics in Presentations’

Using a graph? What’s your point?

by Tom Nixon

Presenting data to an audience is a challenge. If we just dump a pile of numbers on the screen we can expect those “eyes glazed over” looks that PowerPoint is so famous for. To make numbers meaningful we often turn to a graph or chart to show numbers as visual relationships.

Unfortunately, PowerPoint is all too ready to help us make those many layered, three-dimensional, color coordinated graphs that are just as confusing as the raw data. As the “tour guides” of our presentation we need …

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Give Your Graph A Point of View

by Tom Nixon

Every part of your presentation should move your audience toward the goal that you set for the entire presentation. Simply dumping a data set into a graph in PowerPoint only gives your audience part of the story — just the raw information.

You are the expert. Ideally they want to know what you think, what you have discovered about the subject, and how you see things. Give your charts and graphs a point of view by emphasizing the specific data that is critical to …

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Making Data Meaningful

by Tom Nixon

An ongoing challenge that technical presenters have is how can large data sets in charts and graphs be presented without overwhelming the audience. Showing the full set of raw data is often necessary to establish a starting point or source. It may also be important to not appear to be “dumbing-down” the information. But a slide with dozens or even hundreds of data points simply cannot be assimilated from the screen.

The solution is to make the data meaningful by distilling down your numbers to just …

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It’s Amazing What You Can Do in PowerPoint! Changing Colors & Cropping Images to Create a Whole New Image

“I like your slides, but I don’t have any editing software to make changes to my images.”

Those were the words one of the participants in a recent training class said.

We’d finished the session and a few stragglers stayed after the program to ask some questions.

“There’s a lot you can do in PowerPoint,” I told her.  And then I showed her how I to create this slide*…


Start with the Image on Two Blank Slides
First, I find a picture of a silhouette of people (I …

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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 5

When you need to represent information within a larger context consider…

 
Technique #5
What if you have something more complex yet that you want to give perspective to and give more details such as a process or a hardware diagram or screen shots?

One option you might want to consider is an online application called Prezi.

For those not familiar with Prezi, it’s an alternative to PPT or Apple’s Keynote.

Rather than transitioning linearly from one slide to the next, all the information is laid onto a big mat, then you zoom in and out of the mat as you go …

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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 4

Some times you really need all the information.  But how can you help the audience understand it better?

 
Technique #4
Sometimes you want the information on the same page to give the sense of perspective or relationship

What you might want to consider then is how do you do a slow reveal – or a staged reveal.

 
Reveal Information in Stages as You Tell the Story.
So for instance, in this example, we want to talk about our store growth over the last few years.

We could reveal all the numbers at once.

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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 3

Don’t say, “I know you can’t read this slide.”  Instead, consider this technique!
Technique #3
We’re at that point where you’ve considered techniques 1 & 2 (see earlier posts) and you just don’t think simplifying will work.

Then we need to transition into how we serve up the information.

If you need to go through multiple pieces of material, then the next thing to ask yourself is can you address each piece of information with a new slide – in other words, one idea per slide.
Tell the Story of the Data.
The slides below are based on slides from one of my clients.  The numbers …

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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 2

For the times when you don’t want to say to your audience, “I know you can’t read this…” consider this approach:
Technique #2
If having no data doesn’t seem appropriate, then ask yourself how can you simplify the information to something you know your audience cares about.

So for instance, let’s say you’re addressing a group of data centers who support small to medium sized businesses.  And you know they care about the fact that Microsoft will stop supporting XP, server 2003 and Office 2003 in 2014.

Now could supply a chart like this one which breaks down by percentage of users who uses …

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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 1

If you’ve ever uttered the words, “I know you can’t read this…”  when showing a PowerPoint slide, this post is for you!

You may know it’s not good to have slides full of information, but you may not know what to do instead.
That’s what this series is about –  5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It.
 
Focus on Your Audience
As with any presentation, you need to focus on your audience – who are they, what do they care about, why do they care about what we have to present.  Which leads us …

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Presentation Challenge – How Do You Represent Data in a Meaningful Way

There are 2.5 million children in South Africa who are orphaned, living in child-head households.

Wait, what?  Child-head households?  I’ve heard of single parent household, child-head households, you mean…

That’s right a child, usually a teen ager, has to assume the head of the household because the parents are gone, typically, they’ve died of aids.

 

That was the conversation I had with my friend Lisa Calhoun with Ambassador Connections who has accepted a call to work with South African orphans over the next two years.  The idea of child-head households shook …

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