Figures and statistics are essential, but please in the right place at the right time and presented in an appealing way
Presentations often consist of numbers, data, facts – as with BigData, an incredible amount of numbers are presented.
For the target group of number people (cf. MotivChart from the presentation booster method) may fit, but scientists have found with Otto normal consumer: Already five minutes after the number crunching, most viewers have forgotten 95 percent of all messages! Nobody likes to be overloaded with tables and numbers. Presenting statistics in a modern way no longer necessarily means just presenting bare figures.
With infographics, the focus is on visual perception. Rigidly showing data will eventually push even die-hard statistics fans to the limits of their attention. Therefore: Limit yourself to as few numbers as possible if your target group is not insiders.
If numbers and statistics are necessary for understanding, explain them with comparisons and pictures. Especially the presentation of trends can be shown more impressively by a small animation or an image than by a table or a chart (examples can be found here). Stories and images touch us emotionally and anchor themselves directly in the subconscious. This means that even if your listeners do not want to agree with your arguments, the images anchor themselves as “truth” in their subconscious.
When presenting figures and statistics, you should generally focus on the most important key figures of the results. Detailed analysis can be provided to all interested parties after the presentation. All data can then be analyzed and deepened at leisure.
Tip 1: each number must appear in context for understanding
Only when your audience fully grasps what a number actually means can it come to fruition as an important aspect in your presentation. If the audience is not clear on how to assess your data, they can’t do anything with it. If you tell your audience that you have 1000 visitors a day in your web store, they can’t do much with it because they don’t know whether that’s a lot or a little. But if you explain that your competitors have only 50 visitors worldwide combined, the number becomes understandable. Try to make large numbers comprehensible. A report on the annual production volume of a cement factory probably remains abstract for most listeners. When the presenter explains that 10 railroad cars of cement are produced per hour, your audience will get an idea of how large that amount is.
Tip 2: Engage the listener in your numerical examples.
People are particularly interested in numbers and statistics if they are relevant to themselves. Of particular interest are all data that say something about one’s own savings opportunities, costs, profits, risks, etc. So if you were to give a lecture on the ECB’s fiscal policy, it would be important to break down the huge numbers to the scale of individual taxpayers. But the opposite approach also offers interesting possibilities for making facts more vivid. If you want to make Germany’s current debt more understandable, you can, on the one hand, break the figures down to the individual. However, you can make the number larger for understanding and explain that to reduce the current debt would take all citizens 500 years. This is another way to awaken your audience to the relevance of your data.
Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten is the expert for multimedia presentations. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach, member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, the Presentation Bootcamp and the Presentation Rocket Day. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 15,000 presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.