Making Data Persuasive – How Business Presentations Have Changed


In recent years, business presentations have changed so drastically that they are almost unrecognizable from what they were a decade ago. Just as an introduction to PowerPoint/Keynote required a business presenter to learn a new modality, other skills are now also required for effective presentations.

Then now

The most important business presentations are those about getting approval or approval from the audience – approval to buy or the go-ahead for a project. Prior to that, presentations were given with a relatively short question-and-answer session (usually at the end) to those in the room listening to the proposal for the first time.

Most of these types of presentations involve people in the room and other people attending remotely. You looked at the proposal well in advance and wished you could ask a question any time during your presentation. What’s worse is that some of the people judging your proposal will never see your presentation and will make a decision based on what they read.

Any presentation prepared for an audience that the speaker thinks is excellent will require a lot of data. The temptation is irresistible. You have so much data available that you don’t want to risk looking unprepared or having solid “evidence”.

Use of confidence data Penggunaan

Data shouldn’t be the most compelling part of your presentation. This will come from your examples, pictures, stories, and anecdotes. However, your best chance of success is when the data in your presentation is as reliable as possible. Based on our understanding of how the brain processes information, here are some simple guidelines.

Make your graphic costume your goal. Most people choose the schedule that can hold the most information – which is generally wrong. You don’t need to select a schedule to view dates. You should choose the diagram that best describes your point of view. Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve by displaying this data?” And choose your chart accordingly.
Make the numbers real with meaningful comparisons. For example: “The amount it costs to feed a child in the village for three days is the amount you pay someone just to bring food to your house.”
Put stats “inside the room”. For example: “48 percent of the population will be affected by this change. So in this room (out of 24 people) there are 11 people.”
Use restraint to your advantage. This principle proves that the first character that people hear is the starting point for the next character. For example, if you were trying to highlight an increase in efficiency, you wouldn’t say, “Our efficiency went up by 22%, which is great considering last year it was 10%.” Instead, you would express it like this: “We had very good results in our efficiency. Last year we increased efficiency by 10%, this year to 22%.
Make the date as meaningful as possible by underlining the numbers and placing them at the end of your sentence. So instead of “This leads to a 25 percent increase in profitability”. They will say, “This will increase profitability by 25%.”
Prepare the answer

Different delivery methods mean that more of your presentation needs to focus on your answers to their questions. If they’ve seen your proposal before, try to see it through their eyes. What will be affected? What wrong assumptions might they make?

The heavy presentation won’t go away. Information is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom. Your role is to turn this transfer of information into knowledge so that your audience has the wisdom to do what you want them to do.

Kevin is an experienced conference speaker, facilitator, moderator and MC.

He has spoken at conferences and seminars in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, specializing in sales, negotiation, business humor and communication skills. Customers include multinational organizations, SMEs, politicians, law enforcement officials and Olympic athletes.

He is the co-author of eleven books on communication skills and humor in business. His articles are published regularly in major daily newspapers in Australia and Asia.

Kevin is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) offering the highest level of professional speaking skills and is the only one that is internationally recognized. He is the former national president of professional speaker in Australia. He was inducted into the Australian Speakers Hall of Fame.