Dr. Stephanie Evergreen is an internationally-recognized speaker, designer, and researcher. She is best known for bringing a research-based approach to helping researchers better communicate their work through more effective graphs, slides, and reports. She holds a PhD from Western Michigan University in interdisciplinary evaluation. Dr. Evergreen has trained researchers worldwide through keynote presentations and workshops, for clients including Time, Verizon, Head Start, American Institutes for Research, Rockefeller Foundation, Brookings Institute, and the United Nations. She writes a popular blog on data presentation, and she has written two books: The first “Presenting Data Effectively: Communicating Your Findings for Maximum Impact” (2013), and the second “Effective Data Visualization” (2016).
The biggest mistake in presenting data
There are so many mistakes but the biggest is that people don’t know the points they want to make.
What’s your point? The key to presenting data effectively
First, think what your point is. Many people don’t start there. Finding what your point is takes a lot of work and thinking. Once you know it, the next steps are easier: making better choices in titles, colors, etc.
Great tools for presenting data
In terms of software tools, Stephanie sticks to MS Excel as it is ubiquitous and most of the people already know how to use it.
Besides the software tools, Stephanie has compiled some of the best practices in data visualization in two tools: the Data visualization checklist and the Chart Chooser (available in her second book).
Another big mistake people make is thinking that the software will solve their problems for them, just with pushing a button that will generate graphs. The software can’t do the thinking for us and will never know where the story is.
Looking for inspiration?
If you want to give a personal touch to your data, the title of the graph is a great choice. Titles, text boxes or annotations are the opportunities to bring yourself in.
Among famous people, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a professional who brings himself in when presenting data, with his own words and very accessible sentences.
Stephanie also shared with us a couple of examples from her clients that made great and inspiring visualization. Check What #TLDR Means For Your Report and Design of an Award Winning Report. These examples prove that you don’t need an in-house data visualization department in order to create inspiring reports.
“Fun, lucrative and no assholes.” — unknown
Rather than a book, Stephanie recommended an article that changed her life:
Unlearning Some of our Social Scientist Habits by E. Jane Davidson
Routine to Shine
Schedule time for physical exercise. Exercise will help your ideas to come. For speakers, do exercise the morning before your talk.
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