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Tips and Tricks about Presentations


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This post was written by
Scott Schwertly

Scott is the Founder and CEO of Ethos3.

It’s hard to deliver numbers in a presentation without putting an entire room to sleep. Beautifying statistics in a deck is a fine art which requires mastery of both content and design. If you are creating a presentation filled with numbers, consider these tips:

Spread the Spreadsheet

This is a technique that we rely heavily on at Ethos3, no matter if the deck is data or content heavy. It’s a simple philosophy to follow: take each bullet point, number, percentage, or whatever it may be, and give it its own slide. This will make your deck longer, but keep the core information the same. It declutters the information and focuses your audience, which is especially important with numerical data.

Have to Graph? You Have Options

Repeat after me: your presentation doesn’t have to look like a spreadsheet. Consider these unique styles of graphs to present your information when it simply can’t be cut into different slides:

Pareto Diagram – It’s a chart that contains both bars and a line graph, giving you room to include additional information that has a cumulative total.

Dot Plot – A little more creative looking than your average chart, a dot plot is a statistical display using dots or filled-in circles.

Ye Olde Circle Graph – Also known by its street name “the pie chart,” the circle graph is a great way to incorporate your deck’s color scheme design.

Scatterplots – Combining a little bit of Pareto and a little bit of the dot plot, scatterplots work best if you have many separate numbers to convey over time.

Visual Aid

If you choose to separate each numerical value into its own slide, which we highly recommend, consider adding a vivid background photo to help cement the number in memory. It can be related or entirely unrelated to the data, so long as the audience is associating the number with something more interesting than its value.

Storytelling

There is no better technique to enhance audience memory like storytelling. If you can possibly do so, give some backstory about the data you’re presenting. Why did your November profit skyrocket? Was it because your office installed a new coffee maker and all of the employees were suddenly more energized? Giving some context to your data, no matter how small, it will make your numbers more memorable.

With a pinch of energetic delivery and a dash of data sprucing, you can give your numerical data the boost it needs to keep an audience awake.

Question: How can you re-envision your presentation’s numerical data?

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