7 Ways Data Can Tell Your Story


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When it comes to giving presentations, a well-designed visual aid can help you get your point across quickly, and clearly. Couple this with solid data to add objective validation to your ideas and you’ve struck presentation gold.

Including cold, hard numbers lends credibility to your presentation—and using data visualization can make those numbers easier to understand. How? Follow these 7 tips for using data in your presentations, so you can be more effective and memorable.

1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF CHART FOR YOUR DATA.

Tips for Presentation Design 1Nothing hurts your credibility—and your message—more than misrepresented data. Follow data visualization best practices to ensure that your data is showcased in a format that is both accurate and optimized for comprehension.

2. DON’T OVERWHELM VIEWERS WITH DATA.

Tips for Presentation Design 2

Including data adds strength to your presentation, but too much data at once can be overwhelming and confusing. To make the greatest impact on your audience, include only one or two visualizations per slide or frame. And make sure that all of your data is supporting your message—leave out anything that is irrelevant to avoid data clutter.

3. USE IMAGERY TO SUPPORT YOUR DATA’S MESSAGE.

Tips for Presentation Design 1

Data and design work hand in hand to make an impact. Strong visuals help trigger an emotional response. Back up your numbers with powerful images to make your audience feel your message. Here, the presenter used an image of a cracked desert to highlight her message. In another example, bold images of the United States and Syria illustrate the size difference between the two countries much more effectively than numbers alone could.

Tips for Presentation Design 14. ALLOW FOR EASY COMPARISON.

Tips for Presentation Design 4Showing the relationships between different data points makes each point much more valuable. The main purpose of data visualization is to provide a visual reference for comparing two or more values. Be sure that you present it in a way that is optimized for this comparison.

5. DON’T SKEW DATA WITH DESIGN.

Tips for Presentation Design 5Be wary of visualizations that can actually deceive the eye, like 3D charts or odd shapes. Good design should add clarity, not inhibit it.

6. ORDER DATA SETS USING A LOGICAL HIERARCHY.

Tips for Presentation Design 6Intuitive ordering helps aid comprehension by shortening the time it takes for the viewer to become oriented. Present data alphabetically, sequentially, or by value to allow for more natural navigation. You can see how much easier it is to understand the relationships between these different parameters when they are arranged in descending order.

7. KEEP IT SIMPLE. 

Tips for Presentation Design 7While clean visuals can help comprehension, unnecessary elements can detract. Avoid illustrations, drop shadows, or ornamentations that serve to distract from the data’s message.

Even if you’re not a professional, you can still use data to make a compelling presentation.

This post originally appeared on Prezi