Walking in front of an audience is no easy feat, even for expert public speakers. Add an entire executive board of a company to the mix and the pressure is multiplied by a thousand. Perhaps one of the greatest keys to a successful data story presentation is exerting confidence; in yourself and in your data.
At this point in the game, it’s go time. All of your visuals are prepared, the numbers you’re ready to present are as up-to-date as they can be, and you’re about to walk into the room. Aside from your visual data story, how you look and sound will define the audience’s impression of your work...and it happens FAST.
Don’t doubt yourself. You put all of this work together and spend so much time on this and you should be proud. Proud, and confident.
When you’re putting your visual data story presentation together, you’re not necessarily thinking about what you’re going to say to bring everything together, and that’s okay! But, you should have a solid opening statement prepared. When you know exactly what you’re going to say when you start off your data story presentation, your audience will hear the confidence from your voice and know you mean business.
Some experts say picking a focal point toward the rear of the room you’re presenting in gives the overall impression that you’re keeping eye contact with someone...but who? We firmly believe that walking in and immediately meeting eyes with the most important member of your audience, then back at your presentation, then bouncing eyes between the other members will ensure each and every person feels important and that can go a long way.
DO. NOT. SAY. UM. This is huge, my friends. If you can’t think of where you were going with your current thought, MOVE ON. Do not start using filler words because it shows lack of preparation (even if that isn’t the case), nerves, and mostly a lack of confidence.
When you’re speaking during your data story presentation, you shouldn’t just be rattling off numbers and reading titles to pages and visuals -- engage your audience. Speak as though you’re having a conversation with each and every person in the room, and pace your talking speed in the same manner.
Can’t we all hear our mother’s telling us this at the dinner table?! Well, in this case it’s ‘stand’, but the notion is the same. Have proper posture during your presentation and you will give off a vibe that is going to set the tone for everything that is to come. Have you ever heard people make comments about how people hold themselves, or walk? It’s the same theory. Walk in like a boss and you’ll present like a boss (and impress your actual boss!).
Now, confidence is only one piece of the puzzle but lacking it (of giving off the vibe that you’re lacking it) can really have an effect on the entire point you’re trying to make which effectively makes people either not pay attention or feel like their time has been wasted.
Smile. Stand up tall. Go get that data story presentation!
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