Including financial data in your sales presentations is both a blessing and a curse. Numbers undeniably give your statements much-needed weight, while their mere presence creates a life-sucking void in your presentation.
Have you tried copying awkward-looking spreadsheet data straight into your slides before? According to Think Outside the Slide‘s Dave Paradi, plugging the holes in your deck with endless numbers is about the least helpful you can be.
Here’s how to make effective and compelling financial presentations:
Limit Numbers to the Ones That Help Tell Your Story
Before inputting data, ask: “What numbers tell the story?”
Pick the most important supporting figures. Endless stream of numbers will make your audiences’ eyes glaze over. Cut it down to the most relevant information that conveys your message clearly.
Just because you have numbers doesn’t mean you should use them. Including every single piece of information disrupts your presentation flow. Curate only the most vital data, that is, your main argument’s supporting information.
Illustrate Numbers Through Diagrams, Charts, and Graphs
Illustrate your numbers through diagrams, charts, or graphs to create an easier-to-follow visual narrative for your figures or statistics.
Since majority of the population are visual learners, your audience will probably appreciate and understand images better than blocks of text or numbers.
These visual representations let your audiences see the patterns and trends that you wish to explain. Instead of treating data as the presentation’s heart and soul, consider them the supporting details in a story you’re trying to tell.
Keep Text to a Minimum
Don’t include explanations or descriptions for your images, as you may risk oversaturating slides. Minimize the amount of text on your slides to avoid distracting your audience with unnecessary information. The effects of information overload involve inhibiting your audience’s memory. Too many things on the slide will make them forget about your main points.
Include only labels for the figures’ different sections. The rest of the explanation falls on your shoulders. Expounding on data verbally will not only ease your viewers in on your slides, but it also lets you establish much-needed rapport.
Too many numbers bore the lights out of even the most business-savvy audiences, but just enough data supports your message or even tells the whole story for you.
Put the right amount of numbers and determine the right way to represent them.
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“Spreadsheets Don’t Belong on Slides.” Think Outside The Slide. December 20, 2011. Accessed June 23, 2015.
“The Visual (spatial) Learning Style.” Learning Styles. Accessed June 23, 2015.
“Using Excel Data in a PowerPoint Presentation.” Think Outside The Slide. 2014. Accessed June 23, 2015.