Slide Makeover #78: Showing trends in related series of data

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When you want to show the trend in related series of data, don't use a stacked column graph on your PowerPoint slide. This makeover shows why a line graph is easier for the audience to understand.

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Slide Makeover #78: Showing trends in related series of data

  1. 1. Slide Makeover Video Podcast #78: Showing trends in related series of data Based on the ideas in “Present It So They Get It” by Dave Paradi www.PresentItSoTheyGetIt.com
  2. 2. In my work with groups of presenters, I am seeing more examples of data being presented this way …
  3. 3. Pump age by capacity 100 90 80 70 60 5 gal 50 2 gal 40 1 gal 30 0.5 gal 20 10 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo 24-36 mo >36 mo
  4. 4. The presenter is trying to show the trend of pump age for each capacity of pump. Since the time periods are the same, the presenter figures that a stacked column chart will work. It won’t.
  5. 5. Pump age by capacity 100 90 It 80hard to see a trend is when the segment 70 starts in a different spot in60 stacked column each 5 gal 50 2 gal 40 1 gal 30 0.5 gal 20 10 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo 24-36 mo >36 mo
  6. 6. Pump age by capacity 100 90 It takes a lot of work to 80 figure out the height of a segment when the 70 segments above and 60 below keep changing size 50 5 gal 2 gal 40 1 gal 30 0.5 gal 20 10 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo 24-36 mo >36 mo
  7. 7. Pump age by capacity The legend makes it difficult to interpret the graph because you have to go back and forth multiple times to understand it 100 90 80 70 60 5 gal 50 2 gal 40 1 gal 30 0.5 gal 20 10 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo 24-36 mo >36 mo
  8. 8. The key to figuring out a better visual is to go back to the message of the slide. The key word is “trend.” Whenever you want to show a trend, use a line graph. It is much easier for the audience to figure out. Like this …
  9. 9. Need to plan for replacement of many 2 gal pumps in next 12 months 50 45 2 gal Number of pumps 40 35 30 1 gal 25 20 0.5 gal 15 10 5 5 gal 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo Pump age 24-36 mo >36 mo
  10. 10. Need to plan for replacement of many 2 gal pumps in next 12 months It is easy to determine which line is which pump capacity with color coded labels instead of a legend 50 45 Number of pumps 40 35 30 2 gal 1 gal 25 20 0.5 gal 15 10 5 5 gal 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo Pump age 24-36 mo >36 mo
  11. 11. Need to plan for replacement of many 2 gal pumps in next 12 months 50 45 Number of pumps 40 35 In any of the time periods, it is now much easier to compare the values for each pump capacity 2 gal 30 1 gal 25 20 0.5 gal 15 10 5 5 gal 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo Pump age 24-36 mo >36 mo
  12. 12. Need to plan for replacement of many 2 gal pumps in next 12 months 50 45 Number of pumps 40 It is also much easier to see the trend of any individual line 2 gal 35 30 1 gal 25 20 0.5 gal 15 10 5 5 gal 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo Pump age 24-36 mo >36 mo
  13. 13. Need to plan for replacement of many 2 gal pumps in next 12 months 50 45 Number of pumps 40 35 Clearly, we haven’t been buying many 2 gal pumps recently and most of those we have are older 2 gal 30 1 gal 25 20 0.5 gal 15 10 5 5 gal 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo Pump age 24-36 mo >36 mo
  14. 14. Need to plan for replacement of many 2 gal pumps in next 12 months 50 45 Number of pumps 40 35 30 2 gal This observation leads to a better headline for the slide. 1 gal 25 20 0.5 gal 15 10 5 5 gal 0 < 6 mo 6-12 mo 12-24 mo Pump age 24-36 mo >36 mo
  15. 15. What lessons can we learn about showing trends in related series of data?
  16. 16. Lesson #1: Write a headline that tells the story behind the numbers. Numbers only measure an underlying story. The audience needs to know the story.
  17. 17. Lesson #2: Trends are hard to see in stacked column graphs. The segments start in different positions in each column and the interpretation is influenced by the segments above and below.
  18. 18. Lesson #3: Show trends with line graphs. Line graphs make it much easier for audiences to see a trend.
  19. 19. Lesson #4: Use text labels instead of legends on graphs. A label placed close to the data is easier to understand than having to go back and forth between the graph and a legend.
  20. 20. Quick recap: Before After Lessons: 1. Write a headline that tells the story behind the numbers 2. Trends are hard to see in stacked column graphs 3. Show trends with line graphs 4. Use text labels instead of legends on graphs More makeovers available at www.SlideMakeoverVideos.com
  21. 21. If you would like me to help your team create presentations that have a clear message with focused content and effective visuals, get in touch: P: 905-510-4911 E: Dave@ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com W: www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com

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