Blog post by Janay Brinkley, director of quality and performance, Casa Central
Million dollar question, what does data consume?
The answer: Our attention
Presenting data effectively to executives and other internal stakeholders is not as straightforward as it might seem for evaluation, research, and business intelligence teams. If we are honest, most of our data presentations are non-engaging (boring), saturated with numbers and graphs (not aesthetically pleasing), and can be needlessly confusing (lacking simplicity). In this article and my on-demand webinar, I offer tips and strategies to:
- Understand your audience better (organizational leaders and stakeholders)
- Learn what makes a data presentation more engaging
- Improve “traditional” data presentations to increase understanding and appreciation of essential information
Clearly the aggregation and presenting of data, PQI, financials, and other critical information is essential to sustaining the health of the organization and making data-driven decisions. Data assist with predictions, anticipation, and assessing trends. Without data that are presented in an engaging way, organizational leaders will have barriers in comprehension and therefore usage for advancement.
The first misconception of data presentation is that it’s synonymous to data reporting. This is farthest from the truth. Data reports are necessary when leaders and stakeholders have more read time to sit and analyze information. Data presentations are necessary when presentation time is limited and read time is not encouraged due to the attention needed for the speaker.
There are three main facets to being successful: Understanding the perspective of our leaders, learning what will make our data engaging, and learning how to improve visual data.
Figuring out what your leaders want to know versus what they are curious about can help you gain perspective of your organizational leader(s). If you can deliver beautiful graphics and information that your leader(s) want, you can provide for them quick answers, results, and information that they can decipher at first glance. By adding visually appealing characters and graphs, you’ll be able to see how much more engaged your leader(s) are and how in-tuned they will be with the information you are presenting. There are various practical improvements you can make to “traditional” data presentations that can allow your work of data aggregation to be appreciated through genuine engagement!
- Stakeholders look for quick, clean, accurate, and attractive visualizations when data are presented.
- Reporting can be transformed into clean and attractive presentations by considering, simplicity, aesthetics, key information only, comprehension, narration, and layout.
- Limited words (simplicity) within your presentation will keep the audience’s attention while presenting.
- Leaders better understand findings from the data collected because it’s presented in the simplest form.
- Free and low-cost resources can easily improve presentations and reporting. Some I have used include Ann Emory’s data visualization solutions, Piktochart, and Canva.com.
Ready to Get Started?
Learn more about promoting a data-driven culture in human services and using tips and tools to help with these on-demand webinars:
About the Author
Janay Brinkley is a member of the Casa Central family and has several years of experience with PQI. She earned a bachelor’s from Middle Tennessee State in mass communications and a master’s in sports industry management from Georgetown University. Her colorful and well-rounded experience includes roles in government working with detained youth, in the for-profit sector with sales, and additional years in nonprofits creating and reconstructing systems and procedures for efficiency and maximum quality.