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Archive for the 'Presentation' Category

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Three Ways to Present a Data-Rich Table

Better Presentations

“It can be tempting to present all of your data, estimates, and regression results in your presentation. But that’s what your paper is for. In a presentation, be kind to your audience and make it easier for them to absorb and understand your content.” — Jonathan Schwabish

The following is a guest post by Jonathan Schwabish, author of Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks. This post was originally published on PolicyViz, on December 8, 2016.

Three Principles of Effective Scholarly Presentations
By Jonathan Schwabish

Researchers and analysts have some unique challenges when it comes to presenting their data and analysis. We are often more focused on the data, statistics, and estimation results than soaring rhetoric or specific calls to action. That means we’re prone to showing overly dense, data-rich tables—even though the audience can’t both decipher all those numbers and listen simultaneously.

Overly dense slide

In my new book, Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers and Wonks, I explain how to create, design, and deliver effective presentations. If you’re in the habit of showing dense, data-rich tables, here are three things you can do to make it easier for your audience to follow your content.

1. Focus on the most important numbers. Yes, we know you’ve run the regression with 10 control variables and dummy variables for all 50 states, but you’re not going to talk about all of them, and we don’t really care to see all of them. It’s really those two or three estimates that are the most important, so edit the table from 150 numbers down to the most important ones. If need be, you can give your audience a handout with the full table or maybe just point them to the full paper where you’ve probably already included it.

Slide with important numbers #1
Slide with important numbers #2

2. Put them in a graph. The way our eyes and brains work together allows us to better grasp and retain information through pictures rather than just through words (this is known as the “Picture Superiority Effect”). So take your dense graph and convert it to a table (also, see point #1 about reducing the number of estimates you actually show).

Slide with graph #1
Slide with graph #2

3. Don’t show a table at all. If it’s really just one or two numbers you are going to focus on in your presentation (note that I differentiate here between what you focus on in your presentation versus what you might discuss in more detail in your paper), then maybe a table isn’t need at all. Just including the final number in large type with an image or statement will suffice. Presentations are a fundamentally different form of communication than your written report, so treat it as such.

Slide with no table

It can be tempting to present all of your data, estimates, and regression results in your presentation. But that’s what your paper is for. In a presentation, be kind to your audience and make it easier for them to absorb and understand your content—cut to the core of your ideas and highlight the most important findings and conclusions.

Read the original post at PolicyViz.

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Three Principles of Effective Scholarly Presentations

Better Presentations

“In research and academic circles, we tend to excuse bad presentations by pointing out that we’re not designers and that making a ‘pretty’ presentation takes time away from the important work of conducting the research and writing the paper. But presentations are a unique opportunity to share our findings, in which we have a captive audience ready to hear what we’re working on.” — Jonathan Schwabish

The following is a guest post by Jonathan Schwabish, author of Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks. This post was originally published on PolicyViz, on December 22, 2016.

Three Principles of Effective Scholarly Presentations
By Jonathan Schwabish

We’ve all sat through boring presentations where the presenter reads the slides, shows barely-legible tables and graphs, and goes over time—many of us have probably given bad, boring presentations. In research and academic circles, we tend to excuse bad presentations by pointing out that we’re not designers and that making a “pretty” presentation takes time away from the important work of conducting the research and writing the paper. But presentations are a unique opportunity to share our findings, in which we have a captive audience ready to hear what we’re working on. We should not squander this opportunity—and in reality, marginally more time spent thinking through a presentation can have an outsized payoff in terms of audience engagement and excitement about your work.

In my new book, Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers and Wonks, I explain how to create, design, and deliver an effective presentation. In it, I define three guiding principles that you can use to design and deliver better presentations. (more…)

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

How I learned to love data visualization (again)

Better Presentations

This week, our featured book is Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks, by Jonathan Schwabish. Today, we are happy to feature a presentation by Schwabish himself on how he came to embrace the value of data visualization.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Better Presentations!

Jon Schwabish – How I learned to love data visualization (again) from VISUALIZED on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Five Ways Researchers Can Improve Their Presentations

Better Presentations

“It’s crucial, so I’ll say it once more: A presentation is a fundamentally different form of communication than what you write down and publish in a journal, report, or blog post.” — Jonathan Schwabish

This week, our featured book is Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks, by Jonathan Schwabish. To kick off our feature, we are happy to crosspost an article in which Schwabish lays out five steps that researchers can take to give better presentations. This post was originally published on the Urban Institute’s blog, Urban Wire, on November 17, 2016.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Better Presentations!

Five Ways Researchers Can Improve Their Presentations
By Jonathan Schwabish

Too many researchers prepare presentations by simply converting a report into slides. Text becomes bullet points; tables and figures get copied and pasted. But presenting is a fundamentally different form of communication than writing. When we treat our presentation and paper identically, we miss this important distinction and the opportunity to share our work as effectively as possible.

In my new book, Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks, I explain how to create, design, and deliver an effective presentation. Here are five tips from the book for giving better presentations. (more…)

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Book Giveaway! Better Presentations, by Jonathan Schwabish

Better Presentations

“Many smart people often become selfish idiots when they give a presentation. Jon’s much-needed book is a must read for just about anyone asked to share some slides.” — Seth Godin, author of Really Bad Powerpoint

This week, our featured book is Better Presentations
A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks
, by Jonathan Schwabish. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.