Posts tagged Big Data
Persuade with Data - Sculpt your Excel Charts

It is not just the volume but the complexity of data being collected that makes it difficult for us to analyse and interpret in a clear and simple way. As we are bombarded with data, most people still reach for excel to create charts to explain this data. After all, it's easy. Select our table of data, find the command for insert chart, chose one of the types of chart and then choose one of the options for that specific chart. That's easily done.

But as Samuel Johnson may have written over 200 years ago: charts created without effort are read without insight. 

So, with a  little time and effort how can we create charts to be read with insight and pleasure? 

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Sort out your data

With a tsunami of data it is easy to create large tables of data. However, with such large amounts of data, it is difficult to see what the message is. When presenting these tables, some people leave them in the default order. So, if it was a list of sales by country or sales by product then these would be listed alphabetically. Unfortunately, insights rarely occur alphabetically. So, if you sort alphabetically then you are burying your insights and making it hard for your audience to find the insights.

Find out how to make your insights clearer.

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Use Visuals for Concepts and Numbers

One of the world's experts on this topic is Gene Zelazny, Director of Visual Communications for McKinsey and Company. Just pause for a minute and consider that one of the world's top management consultancies pays someone to be the Director of Visual Communications. McKinsey specialised in fact-based analysis, so why pay attention to visual communication? Because, it takes more than logic to persuade an audience to act. The audience must understand, agree and remember. Visuals help people process the message faster and are more persuasive than words.

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How do you use classic techniques to create fresh perspectives with big data?

Today, thanks to my friend Ian Byrne of Pegras, I read that everyday its estimated humans are producing data equivalent to 10 million blu-ray discs. The world in general and business in particular is overflowing with data. Back in 1978, Samuel Coleridge Taylor wrote: water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Perhaps if he wrote this line today he might say: data, data everywhere and not a bit to persuade.

As the tsunami of data washes over us, we drown. While the tsunami of data is new, techniques for understanding data are old.

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