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We at Timeshare CMO have been upping our game in this area, even though our clients tell us we're notably better than most at it, and it got me wondering what other people's experiences have been. 1. How important is presenting data for decision making to your career? (rate 1-5, 5 being Critical) 2. How confident are you in your data presentation skills--in other words, how confident are you that when you present data, that people GET the message you're sending, and take action on it? (Rate 1-5, 5 being very confident) 3. Where did you learn the skills you have now? Did you take classes, learn on the job, read a book, muddle through? Feel free to explain as much as necessary!

  • AB

    Ashley Binter

    about 2 months ago #

    1. How important is presenting data for decision making to your career? I would say 5. As a relationship manager, if I can't effectively present the case in the best way for the recipient, I won't make headway.

    2. How confident are you in your data presentation skills--in other words, how confident are you that when you present data, that people GET the message you're sending, and take action on it? (Rate 1-5, 5 being very confident) 4. If I have misread my audience and present data in an incorrect way, it won't be processed properly. I think that landscape is always changing, so there is always room for improvement.

    3. Where did you learn the skills you have now? Did you take classes, learn on the job, read a book, muddle through? I taught myself and tried to emulate presentations that I liked and with which I connected.

  • MB

    Melinda Byerley

    about 2 months ago #

    I'll seed, if that helps!

    1. It's always been critical. Convincing with data isn't just about the data, as I've found. If the presentation isn't clear or convincing it raises issues about the quality of the analysis. Designers calls this the "fidelity of mockup" problem. Now given that we give advice based on data; our continued success is dependent on convincing clients to take action on that data; and that's where using proper technique comes into play. A graph we analytic types love can be confusing to someone who isn't in our world.

    2. Until the last couple year I'd say I wasn't confident at all. It seemed like folks who had worked for McKinsey or in corporate finance "got" this at some level and it felt I was imitating them but not understanding the rules behind it. Now, I'm at about 85-90% confident level.

    3. I never worked with powerpoint until business school in 2000. Shocking! While eBay offered classes in the Barbara Minto technique (taught in those days by Barbara herself), I felt there was a practical element missing, in how to get the right chart for the right problem. I took an all day class with Edward Tufte. Enlightening, and counter-intuitive, but theoretical and hard to apply. Lately, I've been reading a lot on my own. Working with our clients has been on the job training, and most recently as we're developing a product for startups, I dove into Stephen Few's "Show Me the Numbers." He made it so clear and simple, I was shocked that these techniques are not more properly and formally learned.

    To me, the analysis is only half the work. The other half is figuring out how to tell a story with numbers, and learning the visual language of data, is just as important to getting buy in, as learning English grammar, punctuation, and syntax.

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