Originally at https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/03/17/six-essential-steps-to-present-data-persuasively/

“The graphic method has considerable superiority for the exposition of statistical facts over the tabular. A heavy bank of figures is grievously wearisome to the eye, and the popular mind is as incapable of drawing any useful lessons from it as of extracting sunbeams from cucumbers.”

-Arthur Briggs Farquhar and Henry Farquhar from Economic and Industrial Delusions

In a previous column, I shared that data visualization is your secret weapon for storytelling and persuasion. I wanted to follow that up with actionable tips for how you can be more successful with your own efforts sharing data with your team.

I’ve been in countless meetings over my career where clients or colleagues presented data to me …painfully. When I say painfully, it wasn’t because they didn’t work hard on a campaign or project and have amazing insights to share. But the actual presentation/delivery of insights and actions could have been far more effective. And very worth the effort.

Presenting data persuasively is a ‘last mile effort’, because you’ve already done the work, mentally feel ‘finished’, and are now just sharing learnings and next steps. This is understandable and basic human nature. The work feels finished, which is why many content creators throw slides together haphazardly as they are ready to move on to the next thing. Today I’d like to persuade you not to do this and instead to take time to present your data thoughtfully.

If you follow the following six steps, your next meeting with a boss or client will not only go smoother, you will have much higher odds of influencing that person to take the action you want.

I’ve thrown in a few examples to illustrate my points.

1. Before you get into the data, set up the situation

Never just start presenting to a group by throwing charts and graphs on a screen. And never present to a group just by sharing a Google Sheet or projecting Google Analytics reports on th…

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