How to Present Data Without Confusing Your Audience


PresentationsDon’t let the data speak for itself or you may confuse your audience.

Data speaks for itself. Well, this is not entirely true in all situations. There are times when big data can be rendered useless, especially if you fail to convey to the end users what the figures are telling them.

To drive home the main idea, figure out how you can communicate its meaning. Present the data in a visual form and in a way that makes sense to the users. Unfortunately, some data scientists often include irrelevant information making their presentation more complex than it really is. If your audience cannot understand the point or appreciate the value of your data, all your hard work will be useless. If you can’t prove your point, how can you make them accept your recommendation? Think about it.

So, how can you present your data in a way that will help your audience understand your point? Here are some useful recommendations that will help you accomplish this goal.

Exclude irrelevant information. Don’t get carried away. Not all data makes sense to your audience so make sure that you only include information your audience wants.

Tell a story. The data needs you to tell its story but you need to present it in a coherent manner to avoid any confusion. Present your information in a logical and sequential manner to drive home your point.

Use the most appropriate visualizations. Choose the most appropriate mode of display so your audience can understand and interpret the data presented. You can use pie charts to show percentages, vertical and/or horizontal bar charts to illustrate changes in quantity over time or compare several products and line graphs to illustrate trends. Give a great presentation by using a visualization method that best illustrates the importance of your data.

Provide context. Don’t just present your data. Show the relationship between the figures and relate it to what your end users care about to make them understand the big picture. Provide insights and conclusions, and make a recommendation or plan of action to make it easier for your audience to understand the importance of your presentation. 

Less is more. In data visualization, less is more. You can clearly illustrate your point and make your audience understand the significance of your data by keeping it simple. So avoid the excessive use of colors, 3D elements and explanatory text. These things can only clutter your graphic and create confusion.

Your ability to present data in a clear and accurate manner can provide immense value for your audience and help you position yourself as an expert in your industry so follow these recommendations and see how they can improve your presentations.