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Visualising complex: A guide to effectively use visual data in presentations

by William Gist

Visual data allows you to present data in a clear, neat, concise and straightforward manner. In most circumstances, the data is usually collected and generated by sophisticated software which displays the information rawly. This means you have to spend time number crunching your way through the raw data making it’s more comfortable for others to understand. Because of this reason, visual data is an ingenious tool to use in your presentation. Not only does it make the data more manageable for the audience to understand and digest it also makes the data memorable.

Your visual data will help you effectively communicate your points and vision to your audience by focusing on the main points, insights, and recommendations that will prompt the actions you require from your audience. When using visual data, one of the challenges you will face is how to make intricate and elaborate data easy to comprehend through your visuals and dashboards, if you are using software that offers this. Visuals offer you the chance to bring your data to life and provides you with material to visually tell your story in comparison to numbers that can be rather dull for your audience.

Img source: PCMag.com

Based on the anatomy on the human brain, visual content is processed faster and more efficiently than text alone, which makes visual content more interesting, engaging and effective, which is why it is essential to present your data in your presentation visually. It takes a quarter of a second for our brains to process visual content which proves for fast content absorption.

Our visual systems in our minds can make fast connections to already-stored information in our minds, accessing our memories and helping us store concepts in our brains.

Some key objectives to think about when presenting and producing visual data is how are you going to communicate your data with your audience visually, what is the audience context, how will you use charts, graphs, and images to convey your message. Remember to focus on the crucial points that you are trying to make and design your presentation in a clean but engaging format. Tools like PoweredTemplate can be of good help. Using the storytelling method taking your audience on a journey and the use of persuasive language can help.

Img source: salesforce.com

Charts and graphs make any data analysis accessible to follow and readable and provide a great way to present your data. When the data is shown in this way, it can help major decisions and prompt investors because that data has already been interpreted for them, leaving just discussions and decisions to be made. Good visuals offer transparent data where your audience can work out the meaning of it in a short space of time. Poorly crafted visuals are those that are quite busy and take a more extended amount of time to understand them. It could either contain too many colors or designed poorly without clear visuals.

Asides form presenting charts; visual data can also help you tell a story. Using visual data can help you highlight key trends and show evidence of your points which incorporating it into a storytelling angle presentation. By doing this, you are using your visual data as more of a part of your story rather than gesturing for your guidance to look at a graph and trying to explain the data off of that. Depending on the context of the presentation, his can be quite an effective way to present your visual data as your audience may stay more focused on your presentation in the wonder of finding out the story ends. To communicate a big idea, you have to come up with an appropriate and effective visual display to show both the positive and negative things surrounding your main purpose.

Img source: venngage.com

When using visuals in your presentation, it’s also important to think about your audience if you are presenting to an internal audience, your visuals could potentially be more complicated as they will be able to understand and interpret the visual as they will be familiar with the information. If the presentation if for an external audience you have to think about being more evident with your visual and being less complicated. This will help your audience get on board with your presentation sooner and will drop lost of questions at the end of the presentation.