How to Present Data Well

You have important data and insights you want to present, but how do you make sure the right point comes across? Here are three tips to remember when you present data.

#1. Focus

Decide on the most important aspect of your data and hone in on it. Often people add too much information in a chart, making it difficult for the reader to decipher what is going on. Instead focus on a single point, or divide the information into several graphs.


#2. Limit Your Data Points

Don’t try and cram too much information into one spot. Our rule of thumb is no more than 10 categories at once if you use bar charts or heat maps, 4-7 if you are using line charts or pie charts. Otherwise your point risks being lost in the crowd of data. One of the only visualizations that can support a lot of data points without confusing the reader is a map. Maps add a geographic context which makes it easier to read.


#3. Give Your Charts Room to Breathe

Whether you are creating a presentation, a webpage, or a PDF report, make sure to leave plenty of margin around your charts so they can “breathe”. Also, try and show only one graph at a time (the only exception is if you are comparing two or more donut charts next to each other). Leaving room around an important chart helps emphasize its importance - just like great speakers leave longer pauses after an important point.


Keep these three tips in mind next time you are to present data and you will have a much great chance of getting your point across. Feel free to share your own best practices in the comment section below.