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admin April 17th, 2016

Six Tips For Presenting Data Persuasively: From an Online Marketing Melbourne Specialist

I’ve been in countless meetings where the presenter displayed data to me … poorly. When I say poorly, it wasn’t because they didn’t work hard on their presentation or have amazing insights to share. But the actual delivery of insights and actions could have been far more effective, and well worth the effort.

Presenting data persuasively is a ‘last mile effort’, because you’ve already done the work, mentally feel ‘finished’, and are now just sharing learnings and next steps. I’d like to persuade you to avoid throwing together some slides, and instead take time to present your data thoughtfully and elegantly.

1. First, always set up the situation

Never just start presenting by throwing charts and graphs on a screen or by being lazy and sharing a Google Sheet,  Google Analytics reports.

Make a quick deck – not only is this better to present it, but offers a takeaway that’s easier to circulate internally and senior execs who get forwarded the content are far more likely to open and click through.

First, take people through what you did. Did you just run an A/B test on a new landing page? Show a slide with the old page and new page before you dive into results so we can see what you did, along with a goals of why you ran this specific test in the first place.

The benefit here is now everyone will begin your presentation immediately following your logic.

2. Offer a key message per slide

We’ve all seen it happen – all data on one slide, sometimes with no images at all.

Stick to one chart or image per slide. If you don’t you’re trying to push too much material, and no one is going to absorb it.

Stick to short, sharp points, with a key message and take away point for each slide.

3. Present data as simply & cleanly as possible

Fancy isn’t always best. Stick to plotting data in a simple graph with labels, sources and titles. Try to always keep results and data very clear.

Minimise room for confusion or any way to misinterpret.

4. Always present data with context

For example: don’t just show a trend of metrics for this month, consider overlaying what last year looked like to quickly see what this means compared to previous timeframes.

Google Analytics makes this super easy to do and it’s far more helpful than a chart that looks pretty and is going up and to the right. Sure, that looks nice, but what does it mean? Are these numbers good? We don’t know. Context answers this.

Additionally, never simply show a chart by itself. Have a text box below. Tell us what you want us to take away from the data.

Someone should be able to click through your slides and get a clear understanding of what you wanted to communicate without needing you to present.

5. Have additional details in an appendix, but you don’t need to go through it

You don’t need to go through every single KPI and indicator metric in your presentation. It’s actually what you don’t show that makes presentations better. Not only does more data not help you tell your story but it’s going to tire everyone in the room out and you’ll lose their attention.

6. Have a ‘next steps’ slide where you summarize exactly what you want accomplished next

You’ve presented your project, goals, results and insights. You’ve made your points and have everyone persuaded to think the way you want them to.

Now summarize with what, specifically you are going to do with this data in the form of a task list and team deliverables.

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