We all like to insert numbers when making a presentation, whether it is to a client, a prospect or someone internal in the company. Numbers provide factual evidence to any argument, and that is why everybody loves to include numbers in a presentation. But the question here is whether you are presenting the numbers in a way that they would make the impact that you are actually hoping for?
Let me walk you through an example that would illustrate my point better -
- Numbers presented in a table:
The above table shows the very basic way of presenting numbers in a table, created using excel sheet. Take a step back and reconsider what you really want to tell here. Is this table doing the justice to the point you want to make? More importantly, imagine when you have more numbers to present than shown in the above example. When you are making a presentation to a new prospect, you probably have few minutes to grasp his/her attention. With a table like this, you risk loosing your prospect's attention early on.
- Be aware of the Excel noise
The above graph is created using excel. While a graph is better than presenting the table shown above, you would notice there is lot of noise in this graph. By eliminating some unwanted elements, you will not only create a better, clean graph, but also get your prospect's focus on the points that you really want to highlight.
- Clean your graph
You can see that what a difference it makes by just getting rid of few unwanted elements from the graph. The graph is clean, and it is now easier to focus on the point you want to make here.
- Put your key message upfront
In this example, I have further cleaned the graph's axis and instead of big numbers, rounded them off to one decimal. You can already notice that what a huge take off it is from the point we started in step 1.
- Bring some contrast
By bringing some contrast to your graph, you are highlighting your argument and for a viewer, it is very easy to focus and process your information.
Next time you make a presentation, do not forget to have a look at your presentation again, and review it as if you were a client and somebody else was making this presentation to you. Go through the above steps and you will be all set to make a stellar presentation next time!