No presenter ever wants to see their audience members looking at their watch. But when you’ve been tasked with sharing data with your clients or customers, you may find yourself losing their attention sooner than you’d like.

Numbers can be overwhelming and even lost on the average person during a presentation, but that doesn’t mean they should be excluded. Data is a critical component in nearly every aspect of business — from decision making to strategy to analyzing behavior and efficacy of tactics.

The secret to making data the highlight of your presentation is by incorporating visually appealing elements, such as visualizations and infographics, to get the numbers across to your audience. Here are five reasons why visuals are the cornerstone to making your data presentation a more consumable and engaging experience.

1. Visuals tell a better story, naturally.

Trying to digest data in real-time is a lot like trying to understand a foreign language in real-time. Studies show visuals help us learn and absorb information better (including data and language) by simplifying complex ideas. We are born pre-wired to consume visual data efficiently. It provides a fast-track to our natural way of thinking and parsing information.

This graph shows the relationship between revenue, gross margin, and associated category ID in one simple visual presentation.

Visual 1 - Your Data Presentations Are Getting More Yawns Than Applause

If you were given the choice to read a spreadsheet packed with numbers or a snapshot visualization highlighting the same exact data, which one would you prefer? Most likely the visualization, which is easily consumable and more visually interesting, instead of raw numbers on their own which can bury trajectories and actionable insight.

2. Data visualization helps you easily spot and create insightful goals.

Data natively carries a lot of useful & relevant information, but can be overwhelming if there is no good way of interpreting it. Visuals intelligently organize the relevant data into one cohesive story. They can point out where a company is failing, help improve operations and cash flow, and even push companies to capitalize in areas they wouldn’t have considered before. They can also easily showcase micro trends along-side macro trends without having to get into the copious amounts of numerical details.

3. Data visualization can foster better communication.

Visuals help to unite all lines of business, from finance to human resources to marketing. They help illustrate the bigger picture, without data overload, decreasing the time wasted on excessive email exchanges between departments. A great visual can align targets & objectives across departments, and provide compelling reasoning without having to educate the audience as to the specific metrics for every line of business.

4. You don’t have to be a genius to create charts and graphs.

Creating visualizations with tools like SAP Lumira is as simple as dragging and dropping. You just open or import your data into SAP Lumira and it provides instant access to the visual of your choice. SAP Lumira can also compile data from various sources, like spreadsheets and databases, and allows you to combine and enrich the data all in one place. From there you can generate your awe-inspiring visual story.

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The post Your Data Presentations are Getting More Yawns than Applause — Here’s How to Fix That appeared first on SAP Digital.

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