The Anatomy of the Perfect Data Presentation

Welcome, leaders of the data world!

For those of you who are new around here, this is the second edition of Strategies for Effective Data Leadership! Thank you for being here.

My mission is to help other data professionals nail the hardest part of their job: Becoming great leaders.

Like it or not, leaders present. They present insights and ideas, they make recommendations, and they do their darnedest to influence people and generate action. To succeed at that, they’ve got to be excellent presenters.

This week we’re diving into The Anatomy of The Perfect Data Presentation.

Why we present.

To maximise buy-in for data.

Great data leadership is about the sharing of ideas backed by data. As leaders, we need to bring the entire business along for the ride. It is not enough to simply put data in front of them. We must help it to do its thing.

We must present.

Know Your Audience

The key to effective data communication is to know exactly who you are talking to and to ensure you tailor your message specifically to them. What do they want to know? What do they need to know? How can I deliver my message so they will understand it?

If you’re technical and your audience is business, this means SIMPLIFY! They don’t care and won’t understand the technical details, so cut them out.

Insights, Actions and Business Impact

As you begin crafting your data presentation, I want to remember these 4 letters: I-A-BI. These 4 letters will turn your presentation into a powerful instrument of persuasion, ensuring your message is delivered with full force.

🔹 Insight(s): A valuable and key observation

🔹 Action: This is a recommendation for action underpinned by the insights you’ve identified. It’s normally either a stop/start doing something or a recommendation to run a test.

🔹 Business Impact: An estimation of the impact to the business for taking the recommended action. Usually stated in $/£/€ etc.

Most data analysts presentations will stop at the insight and ask the audience to work out the rest. This is amateur hour.

You’re the data leader, be brave give them your recommendation for action and tell them what it’ll cost/how much they’ll make if they (don’t) listen to you!

✨ The Anatomy of a Data Presentation ✨

Now we’ve discussed I-A-BI it is time to look at the actual structure of our presentation. Let’s go!

📈 Title Slide

Keep it casual, something like: WHY WE ARE LOSING SO MUCY F*CKING MONEY EVERYDAY.

Or if you’re a little more cautious: How to save the business 30K/month or something similar.

Oh and add your name to this slide. If you end up saving the company you’re gonna wish your name was on it.

📊 2nd Slide - Tell ‘em What You’re Gonna Tell ‘em!

This is your I-A-BI slide!

On this slide, at a high level and in big bold letters, tell them what you observed and what it means for the business, your recommendation(s) for action and how taking that action will help the business.

Most people will want to do this at the end of the presentation. DON’T.

Put it first and right up front before you’ve gone into any details. This way you’re guaranteed to have their attention. If you wait until the end to include this you’ll not have their full attention during the presentation as they won’t know what direction you’re taking things in.

If you tell them first they’ll be super invested in the details.

📉 The Guts of Your Presentation - Tell ‘em!

This is where you provide the evidence for the bold statement you made upfront.

Keep these pages simple and with minimal text.

Include one key message/observation per slide.

If you’re using charts and graphs include no more than 2 (but ideally one) per slide. The charts must be related to the purpose of the slide.

You can include text outlining your observations but keep it minimal. Speak to the audience, don’t make them read.

📈 Hit Them Again - Tell ‘em What You Told ‘em!

By now you’ve delivered the bulk of your presentation. This is your opportunity to REPEAT what you told them on slide 2, but this time in a little more detail as they have more context to work with.

Provide a fresh version your original I-A-BI slide and remind your audience of the action you’re recommending they take and the impact that will have on the business.

Use this slide to invite a conversation and if needed, a debate.

☠️ Bonus Pirate Material - Don’t Show Your Working.

You’re smart, we get it.

You’d love for everyone to know how hard you worked on the analysis you’re presenting today.

Truth is: THEY DON’T CARE 🙅🏼‍♂️

And you’ll just bore them and lose them if you insist on taking them through it.

Do not show your working - make that available afterwards for anyone interested after or put in the appendix.

Hope this helps you with your next data presentation! Let me know how it goes!

Tris J Burns 🔥

⚡️Whenever you are ready here are a few ways I can help you: