From numbers to narrative – 4 keys of data storytelling [Video]

Data dashboard shown on a laptopWhen you’re preparing a data-rich talk, where could you learn to get your message across better?

In my opinion, you couldn’t do much better than watching the 55-minute video below, by Isaac Reyes. (The first 45 minutes or so consist of Isaac’s talk, and the rest is him answering questions.)

Isaac’s a data scientist, and the video’s from ODSC Europe 2018 (Open Data Science Conference).

The talk describes these 4 keys of data storytelling:
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Avoid my mistakes in your Ignite talk – part 2 [Video]

Ignite Sydney logoIf you’ve read my last post, you’ll know I was inspired by Aaron Beverly (World Champion of Public Speaking 2019) to write a self-critique of one of my talks.

In today’s post, I discuss what are (to me) the strongest aspects and weakest aspects of my talk.

Why not watch my 5-minute presentation below, and judge for yourself?

Then, feel free to share your viewpoint in the comment box at the bottom of this post.

Here’s what you’ll find in the rest of this post – you can click any of these links to skip ahead:
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Declutter your talk’s title! [A makeover with @LMFDesign]

Long-stemmed rose with scissors cutting the stem in halfWhich of the many aspects of giving a presentation are you best at?

I’d say I’m best at writing a strong message, and that means I often focus on a talk’s words. So when presentation blogger Laura Foley posted her neat makeover of a title slide, I thought hard about the text on that slide.

In this post, we’ll look at:
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Makeover (part 2) of a slide makeover – fewer photos please

Woman's face covered in paint of various primary coloursHave you seen my previous post? Here’s just a few sentences as a really quick recap:

“Do you find slide makeovers helpful?
I love them!

…they’re a form of ‘working out loud’ that
I find really useful”

That post’s the 1st part of the makeover shown below, and it explains changes I made to slides 1-2 from a presentation by Diane Windingland.

In this post, you’ll find details of the changes I made to slides 3-5 (of 5) from Diane’s deck:
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Makeover (part 1) of a slide makeover – fewer photos please

Woman's face covered in paint of various primary colours(Short of time? Skip ahead to the Contents)

Do you find slide makeovers helpful? I love them!

That’s because they show – in concrete terms – how you could improve specific slide layouts and formatting. And they even give you insight into the thought process of the designer who did the makeover. So they’re a form of “working out loud” that I find really useful.

Last month, presentation coach Diane Windingland published a slide makeover by a company called PunchSlide Design. The makeover included 7 slides from a presentation of
Diane’s, and she posted a before-and-after comparison of each one.

Of the 7 slides, 6 of them had photos added during the makeover. To me, that seemed a very high proportion, which led me to leave a comment on Diane’s blog:

“…using too many photos (or too many of any type of
slide) can be about as boring as over-using bullet points”

I felt strongly that I could do a better makeover!

Still, I found the makeover inspiring – partly because Diane’s slides were a great foundation to build on. And partly because, frankly, I felt strongly that I could do a better makeover!

So in today’s post, you’ll find my own makeover of 5 of Diane’s slides. Then, in this post and my next, I’ll share with you my thinking behind each slide’s redesign.

If you want to jump to a specific topic in this post, you can click any of these links:
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Why use diagrams on your slides, not bullets? [Video]

Person sketching charts and diagramsHow much do you (or your colleagues) use bullet points on your slides?

Want to change that?

If so, I’ve a great resource for you. It’s a fascinating video by a design agency called M62 Vincis, showing how you can use very simple diagrams in place of bullet points.

Below, check out the 8-minute video, presented by their CEO, Nicci Take (formerly known as Nicholas Oulton).

It shows an example of how to transform a typical bullet-based slide into a simple diagram. And as Nicci shows, diagrams are far more engaging, memorable and effective than bullet points:
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Improve each slide’s title – make your whole talk better

Set of four 35-millimetre slidesIn this post, you’ll find simple but effective techniques you can use to engage people more, and make your flow of ideas far clearer than with typical slide titles.

(Have you seen my post on how to grab attention with “ABCD” headlines? If so, you’ll know 4 ways I recommend you also use your whole talk’s title to capture people’s interest – even before you speak. The techniques used here are similar to the ones in that post, so if you’ve not seen it, you might want to check it out.)

In your slide titles, I suggest you use either of these powerful, deceptively simple tips:
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Do your talks’ titles bore people? Use “ABCD” headlines to grab attention – and keep it

Bored-looking young manIn this post, you’ll find 4 simple tips to make your presentations’ titles much more engaging than the ones most other speakers use. So people’ll turn up eager to hear your talk.

Plus, your clear and compelling title’ll help you too, by keeping you focused and on track.

As well as for a presentation, you can also use the tips from this post to improve the title of a training event, blog post, or e-book.

To skip to the tips and examples in the post, you can click these links Or, just read on.

 

What’s wrong with typical titles?

When you write the title for your presentation, do you usually just state what the content is, and maybe who it’s for and the date?

If so, I’d say that’s a big mistake! To help explain why, let’s look at a specific example
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Slide makeover: 5 steps to replace boring bullets with audience awe

During your professional life, you’ve no doubt seen more slides with bullet lists on them than any other type of slide. The problem is, so have your audiences, too.

You can’t inspire a disengaged audience…

Because audiences see wordy bullet lists a lot, they’re disengaged by them instantly. And, despite your best efforts, you can’t inspire a disengaged audience to act on what you say!

So how can you use fewer bullet lists? Let’s work through an example to see what you could do instead, using this bullet-filled slide as a starting point:

original bullet-point slide

This is what the slide will look like when you finish the makeover:

bullet-point slide makeover - labels

And here are the 5 steps you can use to complete that overhaul:
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Dump text from your slides! Here’s how – without forgetting what to say (or skipping key details)

Shredded PaperHow many of your slides serve double duty? Let’s look at an example of what I mean

Suppose you have a slide with several contact numbers and email addresses on it, like the one shown below:
contact details slide

Slides like that serve double duty because they’re both:

  • Part of your slideshow during your talk
  • Used for reference afterwards, because people won’t remember all the details

If people won’t remember what a slide says, why show it?

My question is, if people won’t remember what a slide says, why show it during your presentation at all? That needlessly burdens your audience, who don’t know what you expect them to remember (or what details you might give them a copy of).

By all means, include details like that in a handout for people to refer to later. But don’t overwhelm your audience with details during your talk.

Many presenters give their audience a copy of their slides to look at afterwards – in effect using their deck as their handout. But unless you’re careful, using your slide deck as your handout has 2 big problems:
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