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4 Types of Charts You Should Use for Business Presentations

Using charts is tricky for business presentations. More often than not, they tend to overload your slides with numbers and distract your audience from your main findings.

Similar to using spreadsheets, these are tools used to analyze data before presenting them. However, charts have one advantage over spreadsheets: They can visually compare and show relationships between numbers and information, making them more understandable for the audience. This also lets you hold their interest long enough to get your point across.

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If you absolutely need to use charts, these are the four basic types that can help simplify an otherwise long and boring topic.

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1. The Organizational Chart

Business Presentations: Organizational Chart

This chart is used to explain relationships between members of a group.

Here, information is displayed in a top-to-bottom format, with the executive or manager at the top. The chart branches out to show direct and indirect relationships between staff, managers, and executives.

This gives everyone a clear picture of who reports to whom and who is responsible for what.

While the organizational chart explains structures, it doesn’t show how a company operates. You can use flowcharts to explain how your company does business with others. You can also use these to talk about any other type of business procedure.

2. The Flowchart

Business Presentations: Flow Chart

The flowchart is more linear, sometimes circular, in nature.

It’s best for explaining processes, especially during business presentations. The flowchart builds a clear picture of where something begins, what happens in between, and where it ends.

When using this chart, start with the first step. When an order comes in, what step follows next? Is there a step where the request is evaluated? Arrange them sequentially, and add if-and-then statements if something goes wrong with that step.

The more complicated a process is, the harder it is to illustrate with a flowchart. Stick to the basics and keep your illustration simple to avoid confusing your audience with too many numbers.

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3. The Line Graph

Business Presentations: Line Graph

One of the simplest to create and the easiest to understand, line graphs show progressions and can also forecast results.

If you were to track, for example, the increase and decrease of your company’s earnings per year, simply plot the period of time you need to measure on the horizontal X-axis. The vertical Y-axis will be used to measure the amount gained or lost.

After plotting the data, simply connect the points with a line to show their progression. You can even use it to compare similar types of data by using different colored lines.

Line graphs are great at comparing progressions, but if you want to accurately show increases and decreases in value, bar graphs are perfect for the job.

4. The Bar Graph

Business Presentations: Bar Graph

While they can also show comparisons over time like line graphs, bar graphs are used for measuring larger changes.

The two main variants for bar graphs are horizontal and vertical graphs. Both rely on rectangles to show how much one thing is worth against another. For example, if you were to measure the net worth of similar companies with a vertical bar graph, you could arrange the company names in the horizontal X-axis, and set the values in the vertical Y-axis. The higher the rectangle displayed, the more valuable the company is. For horizontal graphs, these are more appropriate for data with longer labels. The usage is the same with a vertical graph, except that the X and Y axes are reversed.

Which Chart Should You Use?

4 Types of Charts

Instead of you simply talking about information with a slide full of text, these charts can conveniently illustrate your data.

It can be about procedures, your organizational structure, or even the progressions and comparisons between information.

While these four graphs can illustrate and compare several things at once, they can overload your slides if they contain too much information. Keep only the most essential processes and state only the most important individuals in any organizational structure.

It’s best to limit your comparisons to at least three things to make your presentation easier to understand.

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References:

“Types of Graphs – Bar Graphs.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/bar.html
“Types of Graphs – FlowCharts.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/flow.html
“Types of Graphs – Line Graphs.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/line.html
“Types of Graphs – Organizational Chart.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/organizational.html

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An Overview of the Different Types of PowerPoint Charts

Many presenters are often guilty of what young people nowadays call “TMI,” or Too Much Information. They tend to include too many details in their presentations, making the slides look cluttered and incomprehensible. Fortunately, there are several ways to present your data in a more organized manner. You can use images or other visual aids such as charts.

Below are the different types of PowerPoint charts that you can use along with some tips on how to maximize them for your presentations:

Pie Charts

These charts are commonly used to show percentages. For better visual impact, limit the pie slices to 3-5. Limiting the number of slices can keep the pie from looking really messy when you need to show a lot of different data points. Instead of showing every little detail, you can turn your pie chart into something like this:

powerpoint charts

Apart from making it larger than the others, contrast the most significant slice with the use of color.

Vertical Bar Charts

Vertical bar charts are useful for showing changes in quantity over periods of time. Limiting the bars to around 4-8 can make your vertical bar chart easy on the eyes. Vertical bar charts show how variables are affected as each of them rises or falls.

bar-chart

Horizontal Bar Charts

This type of chart is used for comparing quantities. One example is when you compare sales figures of your products on a given period. Horizontal bar charts can be used in the same manner as  vertical bar charts, although it uses the y-axis for labeling. It is usually preferred when the labels (the names of the cities, in the example below) are too long for the x-axis.

bar chart

 

Line Charts

Line charts are great for displaying trends. For example, you can use this to show how your company’s sales have gone up each year. You may also use an upward arrow to emphasize the positive trend.

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Most people would rather use tables instead of charts. After all, it’s easy to prepare them when all you need is a side by side assessment of numerical data. Tables, however, do not have the same visual impact as charts. You can even make your chart 3-D to increase its appeal. Regardless of how you present your data, though, make sure that they are accurate and relevant to your presentation.

 

Featured Image: by Chris Potter via flickr.com

How to Illustrate Data in Financial PowerPoint Presentations

We previously covered tips for designing financial PowerPoint presentations. We mentioned then that you should take the time to curate the data you have on hand, and choose only the ones that will help move your story forward. At the same time, you can’t just present this data as it is. Majority of the population are inclined towards visual learning, and chances are, your audience members are, too.

Make use of visual tools to enhance your presentation. Present the data in your financial PowerPoint through charts, graphs, and other illustrations. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses suited for the type of data you’re presenting.

Choosing how you’ll present the information will depend on its complexity and what it represents. In this post, we’ve come up with a guide explaining the basic ways you can showcase data in your slides.

Here are a few tips on the types of visual data you can use to spice up your slides:

Graphs

For a financial PowerPoint, graphs are best used to show trends and patterns in your data. It’s a great way to illustrate how your market performance has improved throughout time or how the sales of products under your brand compare with each other. There are two common types of bar graphs:

Line Graph

  • Line graphs: Use this type of graph for illustrating changes in your data throughout time, like growth or decline in finances.

Vertical Bar Graph Horizontal Bar Graph

  • Bar graphs: Bar graphs are perfect for showing comparisons in the data. Make use of vertical bar graphs if you’re comparing less than 8 different sets of data. Otherwise, go with a horizontal bar graph. This helps compress the information without making it look confusing.

Pie Charts

Pie Chart

Make use of pie charts if you’d like to illustrate how different numbers correspond to a whole. For example, a pie chart can easily show how your finances are distributed. There are variations of the pie chart, like the donut, or wheel. While this also has a similar function to the pie chart, it’s a matter of preference what you feel would be more effective in conveying your points.

Flowcharts

Sample Flowchart
Image from Wikimedia Commons

You can use a flowchart to explain how your data was gathered, or any other important process that is pertinent to your financial PowerPoint presentation. A flowchart visualizes steps or procedures through a progression of shapes.

Other Illustrations

There are other types of diagrams you can make use of in visualizing your data. This abundance of types can be narrowed to two of the more common kinds:

Venn Diagram

  • Venn diagrams: Used to showcase the relationship between different sets of data.

Sample SlideGenius design with map

  • Maps: If you want to show data that corresponds to a specific location. This is great for illustrating statistics gathered from market surveys and the like.
Data is definitely an important element of financial PowerPoint presentations. When translating numbers into illustrations, take note of these pointers and consider the rules of presentation design.

 

Reference

Present your data in a doughnut chart.” Office Blogs. Accessed June 20, 2014.

The Art of Graphs and Charts

When presenting information in a meeting, a picture does paint a thousand words. You can talk about numbers and percentages until you are blue in the face yet not everyone will get what you’re saying. It’s as if you were speaking an alien language. However, once you start putting up a chart or graph, suddenly all your ramblings make sense. It’s like manna from heaven.

Apart from letting your audience understand what you’re trying to communicate, graphs can make it easier for you to explain what you have to say. Keep in mind, though, that you are only as good as your tools. So here are some ways you can use graph and charts effectively:

Choose the right type of graph/chart to use

First off, you have to understand that there are different types of graphs and charts. You can use any of them according to the information that you are presenting. The circle graph (or pie chart), for one, is commonly used to divide data into separate sections.

The bar graph (or bar chart), on the other hand, displays either horizontal or vertical rectangular bars that have lengths corresponding to the values they represent. Another type is the area or line chart, which shows a number of data points interconnected by a line.

Different chart types are suited for different purposes. Line charts, for example, are great for plotting relationships while pie charts are the best types for communicating proportion.  Selecting the right graph can make a difference in getting your message across.

Mind the design details

After selecting the right type of graph, think about the design and how it can enhance your presentation. Every design detail must support your points and not detract from the information. Your chart should be focused on the data with your axes being labeled properly. Keep in mind that your goal is to have your audience pick up the data you are trying to share with as little effort as possible.

graphs and charts

 

Be creative

You are free to modify your graph or chart any way you want, as long as it won’t look messy, distracting, and incoherent. If you don’t feel like using labels, why not use custom icons instead? Another interesting way of creating charts is by using a photo of real objects in place of illustrated ones. For instance, imagine using the picture of an actual pie for your pie chart.

If you are a little conservative about the design, there are still some ways to make your graphs stand out. For example, you may think about using different textures in place of solid colors. Wood, for example, would look great for bar graphs. You can also make your chart look three-dimensional by giving it some depth.

For maximum impact, create your graphs using high-end design software such as Adobe Illustrator. Apart from making your presentation look great and comprehensible, it also offers flexibility and excellent usability. With Illustrator, you can create that 3D effect and manipulate the chart pieces with ease.

 

References

4 Rules for Boosting Your Creativity.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 12, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2014.
Graphs and Charts.” Skills You Need. Accessed April 21, 2014.