If you’re a Big Data company, or if a significant portion of your presentations involve data, you have a unique challenge. Sure, PowerPoint and Keynote provide some attractive options to display data with charts and graphs. But when your goal is clarity, the tools are not enough. Imagine your doctor handing you your test results and expecting you to make sense of them. Without the context your doctor brings to the conversation and his or her ability to make sense of the information, you can’t.

When it comes to explaining the meaning of data, that’s your value, your job, and your clients’ expectations of you.

People blame PowerPoint, but the truth is the tools don’t fail us, it’s our brainless approach that does. The tools are just a platform, a starting point to build a story with insight that informs. They are the output, not the input. But many users start by simply opening a presentation, adding in the data, creating their charts and graphs, and think it tells the story.

Converting mountains of data into insight has phenomenal potential. Perfect PlanIt works with several big data clients who rely on that data to help their clients make informed decisions. But imagine the challenge of making sense of 50 research slides, and presenting it in a way that leads a client from premise to payoff.

Here are some tips to help you turn Big Data into Big Insight:

1. You want clarity, not clutter. Insist upon no more than one idea per slide. Very few people can retain multiple data points, and none (unless you’re presenting at the Photographic Memory Institute) can do it across multiple slides. One slide = one idea.
2. Listen or read. Pick one. An audience can’t do both. Ever check your Facebook page while having a conversation? How engaged are you? Answer: you’re not. Your audience is no different. If you need to present data on a slide, give your audience a moment to look at it before beginning to draw conclusions. It’s ok to pause and acknowledge this with a simple, “There’s a lot to digest here, so before I begin to tell you what I means, take a moment to look it over, then we’ll begin.”
3. Use color. Highlight the data point you most want to convey, and gray out the rest. It’s an easy way to include the data you may need, but to bring attention to the idea you want them to retain. Doing this through animation is also powerful.
4. Animate. Dropping a load of data on a slide is a bit like dropping a wheel of cheese on a mouse. He was hungry, but he needed to nibble his way to satisfaction. You overwhelmed him (you probably killed him…be careful with mice). Animation can be an easy way to walk the audience into the data, let them nibble, and come away satisfied.

If you need examples and ideas of how to turn your Big Data into Big Insight, reach out to us with our contact form at the bottom of the page.