Mistakes to Avoid While Presenting Data in Presentations

Presentations provide various comprehensive options for the creators to represent the data in it, including charts, tables and graphs. Showing data, facts and figures in a presentation provide evidence in favour of the content in the presentation and gain more audience engagement. But sometimes, to show their creativity and to improve the presentation, the creators accidentally overdo the presentation. They make mistakes in rendering the data and end up ruining the presentation. Following are some data representation mistakes, that one should avoid while representing data in a presentation:

1. Using Images in Chart Background: Since charts are used in a presentation entirely to represent important data and figures, it has to be clean and readable. When you put an image in the background of a chart, the only thing that gets highlighted is the image, and the data loses its visibility. So using a picture in the background of a chart is not an option. But yes, you can use a light background colour to make the slide look a bit better and show the data more clearly.

2. Using Complex Numbers & Figures: While writing data into a presentation, try to avoid using big numbers, as the big numbers are not easy to read. The audience may read it, but it will waste their time in the process of first understanding the numbers, and then the chart. Round off the decimal numbers, try to use data units like million or billion along with just one or two digits, and make use of spaces or commas in bigger numbers. This will help the audience read and understand the charts quickly and efficiently.

data in presentation

3. Using the Same Size of the Fonts: Most of the times, to avoid putting extra efforts, the creators tend to embed the charts from excel sheets directly to the slides and forget to change the size of the fonts of the data in the chart. Since the size of the text and the numbers, is smaller by default, it is unreadable when inserted into a slide of a presentation. So to avoid this mistake, you must increase the size of the font in excel to at least 18 to 20, before using the chart or the graph in a presentation.

4. Using Footnotes: You have created a complex chart that shows really important data, but below, you have also given a long footnote which explains the meaning of every single data shown in it. You might think it a way of showing your knowledge and research, but using thorough endnotes under a chart or a graph is a big mistake. If you write long descriptions about the data under the charts, it covers half of the space on the slide even with the smallest font. So try to make your charts and graphs more comprehensive, such that there will be a minimal need for a footnote, and keep the last slide of the presentation to include the sources of your data.

5. Use of Jargons and Complex Tables: Big words are overwhelming and distracting. Though these can represent your expertise, not everyone can understand those complex big words and jargons, that too used to render complex data. Also, it is always advised not to use complex tables to represent the data in a presentation as they can be more descriptive and boring. The standard size of a table that the audience can sink in is a 2×2.

6. Bad Formatting of Slides: While adding data to the slides, skip to be creative, and keep things simple. The data should be formatted in a more ordered and neat way, such that it is easily readable and understandable. Also, in order to avoid the data look complex, don’t go for much of the stylish fonts. Use proper headings and subheadings to show the flow of the data. Avoid using more text, instead, use graphics and photos to represent the data.

Use of data in presentation authenticates your presentation, but representing it in a wrong way can ruin the whole presentation. So try to follow the given points while adding data and figures to your presentation.

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