Data creates meaning. When it comes to incorporating data and diagrams in your presentation, you need to be cognizant of the meaning they create and how to make that clear.

chart showing data improving

​Presentation data isn’t really just about the numbers—it’s about the meaning behind the numbers. The conclusions. The insights. The actions humans will take because of the numbers. It’s your job to uncover these elements.

​When incorporating data, don’t just stick a chart on a page. Determine the findings and narrative of the data and include prose around that.

​Remember, your copy needs to be clear and succinct—the same applies to your data. Unfortunately, presentation software has a wealth of buttons, bullets, lines, ticks, gradients, borders, fills, and other chart decorations that can quickly overwhelm the data on your slide. Avoid using any unnecessary information so that your message will come through more clearly.


​Presentation diagrams are content, too. Putting words into shapes and placing them next to, or connecting them to, each other creates meaning and establishes relationships between the information.

​Make sure you’ve chosen the right type of relationship, because how you place text in shapes on a surface creates meaning: Are they similar? Are they different? Are they connected? Is there hierarchy? Does it indicate process?

​Every time text in a shape is placed on a page, make sure the proximity and connections are conveying the right message.

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