How To Make Your Graphs Highly Effective
Here’s a simple tip that will give your graphs much more impact.
Make the titles “active.”
Now … I don’t mean “animated.” I mean active. When I refer to a title as “active,” I mean that the text helps to advance your position, rather than just stating what the subject matter is. In other words, without you saying anything, you audience will know what your message is. Most of the time, it means putting a verb in the title. Let’s look at an example.
Here’s a nice looking graph of Gross Monthly Sales.
OK … so what? What’s the message? What is that graph trying to tell me?
First of all, let’s get rid of all the clutter. 3D looks pretty, but most of the time gets in the way of the message. Get rid of that, too.
You know, sometimes the art department (meaning well) makes visuals look great but, at the same time, buries the message. However, in presentations, the message is always the most important element!
A closer look shows me that sales are increasing over the 12 months. This would be important. In fact, that’s the message of this particular graph. So let’s make it obvious by changing the title to read “Gross Sales Increasing” or “Increasing Gross Sales.”
That’s a start. Now, let’s put a big, yellow arrow on it that shows the trend.
Now all it needs is a glance – the message is pretty obvious.
The key is “Don’t make your audience guess!” This is all about communication, so your job should be to communicate your main point as clearly as possible.
It will also make your job as a presenter so much easier! There’ll be fewer questions (and distractions), you’ll be more persuasive, and you’ll achieve far greater success in your presentations.