Data is extremely useful for businesses of all types and sizes. In today’s business world, data is used to make more intelligent decisions based on quantifiable evidence. Companies that use data most effectively are reaping the rewards of having better insights than their competition. For people to appreciate this data, it needs to be presented in a way that’s understandable and engaging for people who are unfamiliar with the numbers. Here are five ways to showcase data analytics like a pro.
Know What Sort of Representation Best Fits the Data
There are a few basic types of graphs that are commonly used to represent data: relationships, comparisons, compositions and distributions. It’s important to choose the type of data arrangement that will do the most to tell the story of the numbers. This is how each type varies from one another:
- Relational data shows how two or more variables interact with each other (ex: global temperature it relates to time).
- Comparative data shows how variable sets interact with each other (ex: quarterly consumption of competing soft drinks).
- Compositional data shows the breakdown of a concept (ex: breaking down the diet of an average American).
- Distributional data tries to shows correlations through not necessarily correlated variables (ex: total hot dogs eaten each day of the summer).
Knowing these basic types of data sets will help you choose the best option for every project.
Understand What You’re Trying to Prove
Sometimes data can do the talking for you. This, however, isn’t always the case. Often, data analytics require you to have a greater understanding of the big picture in order present the best possible product. This doesn’t mean you should be trying to force correlations and conclusions out of your data that aren’t really there. But it’s important you have a firm grasp on what you’re trying to prove before you start compiling the evidence to back it up.
Make Your Data Visual
People typically respond better to images than text. This isn’t a new phenomenon; but it’s one that people have started capitalizing on more over the past few years. Making your data visual will make it easier to consume for others who are less familiar with it. While tables can be great for day-to-day data analysis, if you want to nail a big presentation, you want easily understandable, highly visual graphs.
Tell a Story with Your Data
At the end of the day, you compiled your data because you’re trying to tell a story with it. Don’t diminish this simple fact. In order to tell a compelling story, you need to have motivations and outcomes. Just showing a procession of numbers isn’t useful or interesting unless your audience understands the raw data as well as you. If you can show people how certain motivating factors led to various outcomes in your data, people will stay engaged with your charts.
Always Double-Check for Inaccuracies
Data is only useful to people if it’s actually correct. If something seems too good to be true, you should do your due diligence and make sure your numbers add up. There are few things more unprofessional than presenting something as fact only to find out later that what you said was completely false. The stakes are higher than normal when dealing with data analytics, as these compilations are typically used to make real-world decisions, which can affect people and businesses in many ways. Do yourself a favor, and double check your data.
There are many different options for compiling data. However, no matter what programs or types of graphs you use, follow these key fundamentals to always present your data like pro.