The Quick and Dirty on How to Persuade with Data and Numbers
Photo by Lindsay.
In an hour I have a meeting with many leaders I respect at Fuller, including our wonderful (fairly new) president, Mark Labberton. Had I read this HBR blog by Nancy Duarte beforehand, I would have created different handouts.
Nancy Duarte is widely recognized as a leading voice in helping presenters make better presentations. She’s perhaps best known for her insights into the “structure of great talks”, which she presented at a 2011 TED Conference.
In Duarte’s HBR blog, she gives 5 questions to ask before you prepare data to present in a meeting or talk:
- Am I presenting or circulating my data?
- Am I using the right kind of chart or table?
- What message am I trying to convey?
- Do my visuals accurately reflect the numbers?
- Are my data memorable?
If you’re curious, the mistake I made in preparing for today’s meeting is in #2. Looking back, I asked a FYI teammate to prepare a pie chart (which looks beautiful and is even color!) when a bar chart would have been better. On a scale of 1-10, this error is probably about a “4”. I don’t think the outcome of the meeting will be different. But there will be future occasions when the way I present data could change the course of a conversation.
With all the messages floating around these days, we each need to do our VERY BEST to make sure our message is clear and vivid.
For an off-the-chart idea on how to make visuals interesting, be inspired by Hans Rosling's stunning visualization of world statistics.
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