Do This, Not That

data storytelling tips May 05, 2021

Today we wanted to give you a little advice on what to avoid doing during your data story presentation. We may not know the subject of what you’re presenting or what exactly needs to be included in your specific topic -- but we are 100% confident that we can tell you what to avoid!

Some of the most common mistakes made during a data story presentation may seem like common sense but can be difficult to avoid if you aren’t actively thinking about them. Some examples of those are to not ramble or go over your time slot...but these are all part of what we will address below.


Most Common Data Story Presentation Mistakes

  1. Don’t Forget to Start with Impact
    • We have briefly gone through this before, but be sure you start off your data story with a bang. Don’t overdo it; a simple “Hello, my name is ___ ____ and today we will be discussing ___ “ would be perfect. Introduce yourself even if you know everyone in the room, briefly explain the point of your data story presentation, be bold and clearly spoken, and get the show on the road.
  2. Don’t Ramble
    • Your audience is here to listen to the facts and be able to see them translated in clear visuals. They are NOT here to listen to you ramble on for an hour trying to get through the first few slides when, in reality, it could have taken you 35 minutes...which brings us to our next point.
  3. Don’t Go Over Time
    • Chances are, your presentation isn’t going to be the start of your (or your coworkers’) work day, and you have a meeting time set. Be mindful of others’ time. It may be from 11-12 pm, so let everyone get to lunch. You could also be in a room full of executives that may have 5 other meetings lined up for the day. Just keep it in your head to be mindful.
  4. Don’t Apologize
    • If you slip up it’s not a big deal -- it happens to everyone! Sometimes people can practice and prepare for days on end and still say the wrong thing or miss something...and it is okay. Do not by any means feel like you need to apologize for it. Apologizing makes your audience question your confidence [for tips on that, see our confidence blog here] and it takes away from the value and overall perception of your data story presentation.
  5. Don’t Forget to Pause
    • It is incredibly important to pause after a big portion of your data story has been presented. Don’t do this for too long, but it’s imperative that you give your audience a second to digest what you’re giving them before moving on to the next point. Sometimes, if you forget to pause, it creates the need for questions that could have been answered simply by giving the viewers another second or two to process the information before showing the next chart.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to give you simple advice to help break down the mental blocks you have during your data presentation and help weed out the unnecessary fears and concerns about it overall.

Stay tuned my friends; we’re here to help.



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