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Tell better stories with data. The art of making visually powerful reports

Published: October 20,2020

Keeping track of data, understanding the numbers and interpreting the achieved results are all part of business performance. Let’s face it, where some people see only numbers, charts and formulas, others see stories and identify powerful insights that prompt future actions in the company.

However, we’re not all equally able to “speak the Excel language” or see a deeper meaning in a huge pile of data. No need to worry, we dedicate this article to all of those who want to improve their technical skills in creating more visually appealing reports or presentations for colleagues or CEOs.

Read below to discover how you can make friends with numbers and translate them into stories that everyone will love to listen to!

 

4 secrets behind excellent data reports and presentations

Data storytelling is about changing the way you present data insights, to help facilitate decision making within the company.

1. Know your audience. Will you present data for your colleagues, your manager or for stakeholders? Remember this: you can’t talk about nuclear physics to a group of turtles. So, it’s highly important to adapt your data to the level of the audience listening to it.

2. Use visualisation techniques to show maximum information with less effort. Infographics, charts, bar pies, tables - take advantage of such elements to convey the message faster and clearer.

3. Create a proper context. What do you want to communicate via your reports or presentations? What action do you want to drive based on the insights you’ve extracted from your data?

4. Keep it simple. Reduce the cognitive load of your audience by creating airy presentations and reports. Wondering how? We’ll tell you right away!

 

Ease your work by keeping data well organized

To measure results and keep track of essential data for your company, you’ll have to resort to a number of tools: Excel spreadsheets, Google Analytics, Facebook or Instagram Insights, online forms, even Jira, Asana or Trello, which help you keep track of the work done within the company, over a period of selected time.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have all these apps and tools in a single dashboard, to instantly access them when you need to prepare a report or a presentation? Indeed!

Let us introduce you to OneDock, the app that reunites all SaaS apps into a single workspace, cleans your desktop instantly and clears your mind as well.

What’s cool about OneDock?

It keeps all your conversations in one place, even if you’ve had them on email, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Skype, Microsoft Teams and so on. Basically, you can keep all your conversations about reports, numbers and statistics in the organization together, even if you carried them on different applications, emails, and so on.

With the OneSearch feature, you can find data information faster, because you just type a few keywords and the app searches through all your files, documents and apps simultaneously. You save time, keep data organized and clear your mind so you can build enviable reports and presentations for your company or stakeholders.

 

Data visualisation: how to make attractive reports or presentations

The brain is wired to process visual content much quicker than text. By “seeing the data”, your brain will intake, synthesize and retain better the information presented. This is also applicable for your colleagues, managers or stakeholders.

Learn how to use the power of data visualisation to create awesome presentations

1. Don’t over explain. Use copy to mention facts and make sure the same information isn’t displayed in the chart header.

2. Keep charts simple and to the point. Place the descriptive text above the chart brief and show the growth/sale increase or results directly in the chart underneath.

3. Use bold or italic to emphasize a point, but never at the same time.

4. Choose fonts and elements that are easy to read and follow. Otherwise, you will only manage to distract the attention of your audience.

5. Color is a great tool to use in reports and presentations, for highlighting the essential information. Keep in mind the following tips:

  • present the same type of data with just one color; for instance, if you compare sales month-to-month on a bar chart, use the same color; however, when you compare sales between last year and this year, use a different color for each year.
  • use red for negative numbers and green for positive numbers, to imprint meaning on the viewers’ minds;
  • colors should have enough contrast between them, but avoid high-contrast combinations such as red/green or blue/yellow;
  • select a single color with varying shades; avoid using 6 different colors in a single layout;

6. Images should reinforce the data and the message, not just decorate. Pick photos or illustrations that support the subject matter of your report or presentation.

7. Choose the right elements for your purpose.

  • Tables present a lot of information in a more structured way.
  • Line charts and area charts show a track of changes or trends over time.
  • Bar charts help you compare quantities from different categories.
  • Pie charts or donut charts help you compare parts of a whole.

Presenting data in a more appealing way is not as hard as you think. With the tips from above and continuous improvements, we’re pretty sure you’re going to master the art of crafting visually powerful reports and presentations.

 

You can always count on OneDock to keep all the information you need available in just one workspace. Say goodbye to app chaos and welcome a cleaner desktop and a clearer mind!

 

Rascanu Catalina

Catalina Rascanu - Copywriter / UX writer at Telekom Romania

 

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