The DataHero Blog

Five Tips For Creating Persuasive Data Presentations

August 20th, 2013


“Let my dataset change your mindset” – Hans Rosling

Data can be an incredible resource for persuading an audience. These tips will help you make that data presentation even more effective. Read on to find the best way to knock those data-centric presentations out of the park.

1. Balance Stories and Numbers

In presentations involving data, you walk the fine line between painting a narrative and throwing dataset after dataset at your audience. The best path to walk should be chosen based on the goal and audience for each presentation. If your audience has seen the data before or is familiar with the concepts you’re presenting, then you can delve into the data analysis more. If this is an introduction to the topic or your audience is unfamiliar with the data, provide more of a contextual backstory to the data.

2. Lead With The Problem

I’m taking you back to your middle school writing classes and encouraging you to introduce the problem statement first. Get your audience’s attention, let them know you understand their pain points, and then tell them how you’re going to address those pain points. Then show the data that supports your claim.

3. Make The Visualization Compelling

Don’t undermine all your hard work on data analysis by fumbling the visualization.

Make sure to:

Graph Choice

4. Explain, explain, explain

You’ve likely spent a lot of time with your data; you’ve cultivated it and watched it grow, so you know a lot about it. It can be hard to step outside of that intimate relationship with your data and present it to people who are seeing it for the first time.

Some simple things to consider are:

  • Explain your axes – don’t assume that your audience can digest your data visualization
  • Highlight important patterns – again, don’t assume your audience sees the patterns right away
  • Use labels wisely – don’t distract from the visualization but don’t forego labels either, trusting that the audience is following only your verbal explanations.
5. Preemptively Answer Questions

You’re presenting on a certain topic and have highlighted the patterns that support your idea, rightly so. However, there may be questions that come to your audience’s minds that are not directly related to your main idea.  Why is one point so high or low? What caused that jump in sales that one week in July? Why is social media growing exponentially while other referral sources are driving less traffic? These questions can be distracting if they continue to buzz around in your audience’s mind, causing them to miss your insights.

While DataHero might not be able to help you write your presentation, it has the compelling visualizations that can maximize support for your message. Sign up today to find insights even easier in your data and create the stunning charts that will punch up your presentation.

DataHero helps you unmask the answers in your data. There’s nothing to download or install. Simply create an account and connect to the data services you use everyday (like Salesforce, Stripe, MailChimp, Dropbox and Box). DataHero automatically decodes your data and shows you the answers you need through dynamic visualizations.

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By Kelli Simpson

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